books, children, illiteracy., innovation, literacy, spelling

VY’s publications on Spelling – select list

Some publications relevant to Spelling and spelling reform 1971-2010

Valerie Yule.

A list is at



  1. (with Angela Ridsdale and Ian MacFadyen) The Magic Bag. Parts 1 and 2.Books accompanying the television literacy series. Sydney: Australian Broadcasting Commission. 9+ reprints.


  1. Orthography and Reading: Spelling and society. Thesis for doctorate degree, Faculty of Education, Monash University, Victoria, Australia,. With chapters on human engineering for writing systems, applying knowledge about other writing systems to improve the design of English spelling, the politics of English spelling, spelling and society, social reforms and revolutions and writing system reforms, child development and spelling in learning to read, use of spelling by skilled readers, theories of reading processes and teaching spelling, and problems of research on the design of English spelling, series of experiments in the design of English spelling, particularly surplus-cut reforms, how the methods of teaching reading could be improved by English spelling reform. (Printed copies available from DISSERTATION ABSTRACTS, UMI Dissertation Services, University Microfilms International, A Bell & Howell Information Company 300 N. Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor Michigan USA 48106.   800-521-0600 or 313/761-4700.   1416. Thesis date 1992
  2. The Book of Spells & Misspells. Lewes, UK: The Book Guild.
  3. Writing Systems and how they change: with particular reference to English spelling. ISBN 978-1-742842-07-03 (pbk)     560 pp  Indexed. Illustrated.

Brisbane, Q: Book Pal,


Chapters in books

  1. Articles reprinted in Tune, N W. (ed.) Spelling reform: A comprehensive survey. California: Spelling Progress Bulletin. (The etymological argument, The implementation of spelling reform, Let us be practical about spelling reform, Spelling and Spelling reform, arguments pro and con, A transitional spelling reform.)
  2. The design of spelling to meet abilities and needs of adult readers. In P. H. Peters (ed.) Frontiers of Style. Dictionary Research Centre. Macquarie University 1995. The politics of spelling. In D. Myers (Ed.) Reinventing Literacy: the Multicultural Imperative. Brisbane.: Phaedrus Press. pp 135-142. distributor Central Queensland University Press. ISBN 0646256718 (on computer sites downloads as a word document)
  3. The politics of international English spelling. In The politics of Literacy in Australia and the Asian-Pacific Region. ed. David Myers & Nicholas Walker. Northern Territory University Press. pp 41-48.





1971 Leaflets, spelling games, and Poket Gyd to Instant Speling

1972 Causes of illiteracy and recommendations for action. For a Melb literacy campaign.

  1. Illiteracy- and a problem we refuse to face. Three articles in The Melbourne Age. June 16, August 14 and 21. Over 250 responses came from the public ‘spelling as you would like to spell’ . Possibly the first public experiment in spelling reform.

1974 Spelling reform. Learning Exchange.

1974 The child who is failing. The Educational Magazine. 32.2.

1974 Dyslexia. Spelling reform. Two papers in The literate Australian. Council of Adult Education. July 23-25. (The first published suggestion to attribute problems of dyslexics to the task, not the learner’s defects.)

1974 Illustrations and test material. Torskript Spelling (Vic Paulsen, CA USA)

1974 Children’s reading and writing. Learning Exchange. June.

1974 Material on spelling and spelling reform for Council of Adult Education, Melbourne.

  1. “The Causes of Illiteracy & Recommendations for Action”. Spelling Progress Bulletin,Winter. XV, no. 4. 3- 10. (sp1975causes of illiteracy.PDF)
  2. “Spelling & Spelling Reform: Arguments Pro & Con.” Spelling Progress Bulletin 1976 spring edition Volume XIX, No.
  3. (Two articles about spelling) The Melbourne Age. March 1, March 15.

1977 Three Go-On Radio Shows. Access Radio 3ZZ 3CR. Reprinted in Harry Lindgren’s Australian journal Spelling Action. (other articles in Spelling Action are in general not listed.) The miggrant who spelt licky an angle. Onky upon a Timmy , A miggrant’s traggerdie .PDF

1977 SSS The evidence for Chomsky’s interpretation of English spelling. Spelling Progress Bulletin. xviii. 4.10-12.

1977 (with F. McBride) The need for spelling reform. Scotsman. August 21.

1977 SSS(Ed. with F. McBride.) Proceedings of the 2nd international conference on spelling, Northampton, U.K. Published by Spelling Progress Bulletin. vol 19.

  1. “Is there evidence for Chomsky’s interpretation of English spelling?” Winter 1978 Volume XVIII, No. 4 (sp1978chomsky.htm and PDF
  2. Let us be practical about spelling reform. Spelling Progress Bulletin. 19.1.7-9
  3. A transitional spelling reform for adults and learners Spelling Progress Bulletin. xx 3.7-10.

1980 Etymological arguments for spelling reform. part 1 .S.P.B. xx. 4.4 . (

  1. [Spelling Reform Anthology §7.1 pp109-111] Anthology Section 7. Ways of implementing Spelling Reform. “How to Implement Spelling Reform”

  1. Fowler’s English Usage revisited. S. P. B. xxi 4.4-7. (This pioneer paper suggests grammatical language reforms for English.) Volume XXI, No. 4.
  2. Etymological arguments for spelling reform. part 2. S.P.B. xxi 3. 7-9.

1981 Two position papers on i.t.a. and on spelling reform. S.P.B.

  1. Review of Frith, 1981. Spelling Progress Bulletin. Spring
  2. Education and spelling.(Published with title ‘Many ways to look at vowel sounds’!) Times Educational Supplement Scotland. 18.9. p 18
  3. An international reform of English spelling and its advantages. Revista Canaria de Estudios Ingleses. Tenerife. 4.1982. 9-22.(The international angle for English spelling reform)
  4. Spelling as Technology. (rewritten by a hostile technical editor and published as ‘Shorter words mean faster reading’ – which is not true as a generalisation. vy) New Scientist. 9.12. pp. 656-7. The first published article for the general public on surplus-cut spelling and research in spelling design. But even the graphs were wrong. The editor refused to publish my letter of corrections. Today they do admit errors.

1982 (Ed.) Proceedings of the 3rd international conference on spelling. Edinburgh. Spelling Progress Bulletin. Serial publication.

  1. A transitional reform for English spelling. In Proceedings of the 3rd international conference on spelling. Edinburgh. Spelling Progress Bulletin.

1982 Summary of Prof. Vassiliev’s Russian monograph on his scheme for English spelling reform. Spelling Progress Bulletin.

  1. If you can’t change the children, change the problem. Australian Journal of Remedial Education. 13. 1 and 2. 75-80. (has been scanned in 9/2/07)
  2. SSS Conference 3: Development of Improvement in English Orthografy “A Research-Developed Reform for English Spelling”
  3. The information technology of reading. Reading. 16.3.162-8. (not complete Reading is now called Literacy.
  4. Whizz-bang-Sparkle Year. (IT Year) Primary Education. May-June 12-14.

1982 (or 3?) Simplified spelling would stimulate intelligence. Age.

1982 Boothroyd, Basil. With Captions for the Hard of Spelling. London Punch. A take-off of the travesty of my article in New Scientist, 1982.

  1. The Simplified Spelling Society Newsletter November 1983 part 3. “AN ACCOUNT OF EXPERIMENTS BEING UNDERTAKEN”
  2. English as an international language, and its spelling. Language Monthly. 8. 24-25
  3. Learning English as a double language. Language Monthly. 13. 23-24
  4. Must reading and writing be so difficult to learn? The Age, 24.4.
  5. Research and development in spelling reform. Spelling Progress Quarterly, 1.2. 6-13 (file on comupture in sites/dowlnloads)
  6. A roman script as an alternative script for Indian languages. Paper for First roman Lipi Sammelan. Bombay. Dec

1985 Testing adults’ adaptation to reformed spelng. J S S S Society. Autumn. p 7

  1. Review of A. W. Ellis. Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society. 2. 28-29

  1. abstract only of “literate adult’s reponse
  2. Considerations for the alphabetisation of Mandarin Chinese. Xin Tang. No. 7. 40-47. University of Pennsylvania.
  3. The design of spelling to meet needs & abilities. Harvard Educational Review. 56.3. .278 – 297. (on computer in downloadspdf valerieyule) ) Fall 1986 Issue >

  1. (with S. Greentree.) Readers’ adaptation to spelling change. Human Learning. 5.229-241. The first publication in a learned journal of an experiment in support of spelling reform. (Some earlier experiments were published by the SSS and SPB, including John Beech’s comparison of modified spellings. Beech’s original design was adapted for this experiment. However this has replicated less dramatically without reaching levels of significance.)
  2. English spelling and Pidgin; Examples of international English spelling. Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society. 3. 25-28. Reprinted in English Today
  3. Roman script in India. Education Age. 15.6. p 4.
  4. Style in Australia. Review of Style Council 1986. J. Simplified Spelling Society.3.25-28.

  1. Orthography. In D. Unwin and R. McAleese (eds.) The encyclopaedia of educational media communications and technology 2nd edition. New York: Greenwood Press.
  2. Teach yourself to read by video. Australian Journal of Remedial Education 20.1. 20-25. The first publication in a learned journal on the potential of cartoon video for a literacy. overview.
  3. I was a dyslexic bookworm. Success story 1. Aust J Remedial Education . 20.2.3-5.

on computer in sites> downloads

  1. 1988. I was a dyslexic bookworm. Success story 2. Aust J Remedial Education. 3. 22-25.
  2. The importance of spelling for English culture. J Simplified Spelling Society. 2.2. 29-31.
  3. Review of ‘Dictionary of Simplified American Spelling by E. Rondthaler and E. Lias, Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society. 2.3.32.

  1. Reasoning and learning to read. Education Extra p 2. The Melbourne Age. 15.6. p2.

1989 Children’s Dictionaries: Spelling and pronunciation. English Today. 17.1, 13-17.

  1. Two experimental versions of ‘cut spelling’. J Simplified Spelling Society. 3.2.30

  1. Style Council 1988 in Melbourne, Australia. J Simplified Spelling Society. 1.31

1990 Fast forward to teach yourself to read. International Literacy Year. Melbourne Education Age, May 1.

  1. The design of spelling to meet abilities and needs of adult readers. In P. H. Peters (ed.) Frontiers of Style. Dictionary Research Centre. Macquarie University
  2. Indonenglish. English Today. 26.7. 42
  3. Learning to read without effort. Reading (U.K.) 26.2. 12-16
  4. Children’s abilities and ‘surplus-cut’ spelling reform. Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society. 6.2. 3-8. (based on thesis.)

  1. Improving English spelling for readers: the necessity for research. Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society. 7.1.10-18.(based on thesis.)
  2. July. Spelling for the new millennium. Paper at the International Reading Conference, Melbourne, The Australian Reading Association.
  3. Radio talk-back, John Faine’s talkback 3LO in connection with the conference paper.
  4. Experiments in public response to surplus-cut spellings in texts. J S S Society. 1. 7-16.

  1. Spelling and Society: Orthography and Reading – summary of a research thesis. Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society 2. 7-16.

1994.Problems that face research in design of English spelling.Visible Language.28:1. 26-47 (PDF on OzIdeas)

  1. Teach yourself to read at home by video – problems and promises. Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society 1. 11-18.

  1. Finding, developing and testing materials on spelling reform. J S Spelling Society 2. 26.
  2. Spelling needs research and research needs replication. J S Spelling Society. 20: 1 13.
  3. Take-Home Video for Adult Literacy. International Review of Education. UNESCO. 42 (1/3): 187-203.
  4. Teaching reading and spelling reform. J Simplified Spelling Society 21. 1. 10-12
  5. International English spelling and the Internet. JS S S . 23. 1998/1. 8-13
  6. Personal View 10. 1999.
  7. Everyone an Independent Scholar. Review of the Independent Scholars Association of Australia. 1.2, 25-27.
  8. Writing systems of Japan, China and Korea. ABC Radio National on Lingua Franca.
  9. Why English spelling has resisted reform since 1755. Australian Style. 9.1.4. (see Folder.vy)
  10. Letter calling for research. retitled ‘Eazi Spelings’ . New Scientist 13.10.2001, p56.

2001/1. How people spelled when they could spell as they liked. J S S S y. 29. 34-37.

  1. Ockham’s Razor talk reprinted in Tirra Lirra, Autumn 2002.12.3.25-27.
  2. Interview on Dave Richards show ABC Northern Territory, following Ockham’s Razor.

2002 ‘It’s the spelling that’s stupid, not me’ Ockham’s Razor, ABC Radio National, 5 May—not-me/3505566

  1. English spelling for international communication. J30 2002/1 p28.
  2. English spelling and comparative literacy. J30 2002/1 p26.

2004 Could English spelling be made regular without drastic change? J32 2003/1 pp15-19.2004 Sharing Knowledge with learners. Self-Help in learning to read

Ockham’s Razor, Radio National 29 February.—self-help-in/3406522

  1. Barriers to access to print literacy. ‘The First Necessity: Access to learning in the 21st century.’ Proceedings of the 2004 Annual Conference of the Independent Scholars Association of Australia, 38-42 (sp2004acesslliteracyISAA.PDF)
  2. A Wave of Spelling. Australian Style, 12.2.5.
  3. Spelling improvement is possible: a response to Robert Dessaix. Re-titled, ‘Does English have to be so hard to spell?’ Lingua Franca, ABC Radio National, February.5
  4. Paper presented to the Australian Style conference.16 October “Pronunciation Guides in Children’s Dictionaries”
  5. An international English Spelling Commission. Summary of paper. Spelcon 2005:International English for Global Literacy. Simplified Spelling Society Conference Report, University of Mannheim, July 2005. pp 46-47.

2007 Can literacy be made easier? The Psychologist. 20.4.212-214.

2007 Lyubomir Ivanov (Sofia) & V. Yule (Australia) Roman phonetic alphabet for English. Contrastive Linguistics. 32. 2. 50-64

2008 The Simplified Spelling Society is a hundred years old this year. Broadcast as Spelling still not simple. Lingua Franca. ABC Radio National, 31 May.

2008 The economic costs of spelling 28 June   Lingua Franca

  1. An audit for educational disadvantage. 15 August


Language and literacy. 8 September for International Literacy Day

2011, ‘Recent developments which affect spelling. On the possibility of removing the unnecessary difficulties in English spelling, while leaving the basic appearance of English print intact.’  English Today, 107, vol 27, No 3. Sept 2011, pp 62-67

2011/12 Sacrifice for the poor (spelling) Coracle issue 4/50 winter 24-5

2012 Experiment in Education, Psychology and Lingustics to solve a social problem. ISAA Review, Vol ll, no 1 2012 , pp 16-19

2014 A literacy experiment to try (parallel texts) The Psychologist, 27.1.January

2014 The truble with spelling

  • 2014 Review of Horobin’s Does Spelling English Today , Volume 30 / Issue 04 / December 2014, pp 59-61


20.7.1983. Preparing to read through play. Aberdeen University Television. VHS 83/042T. Formerly obtainable through Aberdeen University Library. Children in a nursery-school with everyday play activities and innovatory play materials that lead into learning how to read.

  1. Teach yourself to read or find out where you got stuck. The world’s first computer-animated cartoon take-home video for adults and children to watch at home, that gives an overview of what it helps to know to learn to read.   Plus script manual and picture manual. (Pilot version 1984 in UK)

2005- More professional version of ABC Go! Help Yourself to Read online at, plus DVDs.


Innovatory materials and methods for learning to read

using the alphabetic principle

ABC picture-chart with playtray and multi-coloured plastic letters, with ways to play with them; Word jigsaws; Dubl-dekr reading books; Multi-level reading books; Turnabout reading books; Spelling Brain-games; Aladdin’s Wonderful Grammar; plus charts, teachers’ materials. See ozideas website literacy pages.


Pages on Writing Systems- /writsys.htm August 25 2000

Writing systems – alphabetic

Writing systems – Chinese

Writing systems – Introduction

Writing systems – Japanese

Writing systems – Korean

Writing systems – problems

Writing systems – recently invented

Writing systems – syllabic

Writing systems and societies

Writing systems non-reform -India

Writing systems of the world

Writing systems reform

Writing systems reform – Dutch

Writing systems reform – Greenland

Writing systems reform – Hispanic

Writing systems reform – Japan

Writing systems reform – Korea

Writing systems reform – Portugal

Writing systems reform – Russia

Writing systems reform – Turkish

Writing systems reform -China

Writing systems reform -Spanish

Writing systems reform- Indonesia/ Malaysia /writalfa.htm /writchin.htm /writintro.htm /writjap.htm /writkor.htm /wrintprob.htm writnew.htm /writsyll.htm /writsoc.htm /windref.htm /writsys.htm /wrintref.htm /wdutchref.htm /wgreenref.htm /whispanref.htm /windref.htm /wkorref.htm /wportref.htm /wrussref.htm /wturk.htm /wchinref.htm /wspanref.htm /wmalind.htm


Pages on Spelling on Web-Site /spelling.htm

Spelling principles for reserch

16-Word Spelling Test

principles to improve spelling

Bibliografy for spelling reform

Criteria for spelling improvement

English Spelling – International use

English spelling reform

How people spelled when they could spell as they liked

Improving English spelling

Improving spelling for learners

International English Spelling Day

Spelling & Ockham’s razor

Spelling for international use, Pt 2

Spelling for international use, Pt 3

Spelling games

Spelling ideas – Goodwin

Spelling in the future

spelling reform to help readers

Spelling reform to help writers

Spelling vowel chart

Surplus letters & spelling reform

The spelling system in a half-page

Spelling – an index page

Spelling for international use, Pt 1

Improvements to English spelling /spprinc.htm

http:// /16sp.htm /sp7rul.htm /srefrens.htm

/sration.htm /sintrnt.htm /spelref.htm /spfree17c.htm /slernsp.htm /spday.htm /spockham.htm /intspel2.htm /intspel3.htm /spgames.htm /goodwinsp.htm /sfutspe.htm /sreadsp.htm /swritsp.htm svowchart.htm /ssurplu.htm /spelsys.htm /intspel.htm /sfastrs.htm

May 10

2002.Sept 2

Sept 1

May 19

May 19

May 19

May 15

April 25


May 19

May 19

Sept 2

May 19

Jan 17

Jan 17

May 19

Jan 17

Feb 26

May 19

May 19

May 19

M 19 02

May 19

Sept 5

Jan 17

Aug 26

HOW I would see my original contributions to spelling reform

The concept of cutting out surplus letters as a systematic reform (apart from some rather erratic 16th-19th century suggestions)

The concept that a spelling reform that capitalised on the morphemic qualities of the English language was possible (making English spelling more like Chomsky says it is)

The concept that spelling reform could progress quickly in a few transitional stages, rather than one great change or many small steps, and could do this by acceptance in dictionaries of modified spellings as alternative spellings, for trial by popular acceptability.

Campaign for academic and applied research into the design of better spelling, rather than rely on armchair arguments and attempts to push untested proposals that may be theoretically logical and seem ideal.

Asserting principles of human engineering and user-friendliness to apply to the writing system, to meet needs and abilities rather than all efforts into trying to get adoption of armchair-planned reforms that were theoretically logical and ideal. (George O’Halloran had similar ideas here.)

Challenging assumptions that a simple phonemic reform was the only route.

Stressing the international aspects of English spelling as a spur to reform, and a factor to be included in the design of a reformed spelling

Looking at other writing systems for what they can tell us about meeting and not meeting human needs and abilities, and about matching language and writing system

Writing on society and spelling – the political significance of spelling – (including evidence from writers on the history of spelling, and Veblen’s concept of English spelling as conspicuous consumption)

The idea that television subtitles would be the best way to experiment with spelling reforms and introduce them to the public.

Exploring some original ideas of alphanumeric reform including a Korean-style possible improvement for the roman alphabet.

Devising some original ways to experiment in spelling reform. See thesis

Seeing the potential of animated-cartoon take-home video for teaching literacy and promote independent reading for adults and children. (Interactive CD Rom is the next step – but not as electronic worksheets.)

Production of innovatory teaching materials to help learners and teachers understand English spelling – and so that they could realise that spelling could actually be cleaned up, instead of thinking it a mystery that cannot be touched.   Giving them an understanding of the underlying spelling system will make it easy for them to read and write a more sensible modified spelling.

Design of 8 Principles to maximise the advantages of present English spelling and reduce its disadvantage, together with earlier explorations such as Interspel and FASTR Spelling for International English Spelling.

Spelling Rules on one page, with minimum change to spelling, for maximum aid to those who find present spelling too difficult.

Spelling crib to accompany normal spelling as aid to learners



2014 The truble with spelling





Online is the home page.

English spelling –   Many pages link from this. Free online overview to copy (Creative Commons copyright) shows children playing in a Scottish nursery school, and

shows developmental stages in children playing with plastic letters on an alphabet picture chart.

2008 The Centenary of No Spelling Reform – the Simplified Spelling Society is a hundred years old this year. Broadcast as Spelling still not simple. Lingua Franca. Radio National

Saturday 31 May 2008. Listen Now – 31052008 | Download Audio – 31052008



JOURNALS and other publications WRITTEN FOR ON SPELLING.

Australian Journal of Remedial Education.

Australian Style (Macquarie Dictionary Centre)    

English Today.    

Harvard Educational Review  

Human Learning.

International Review of Education.

Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society

Language Monthly  

Learning Exchange. 1974.

Melbourne Age (Melbourne)

New Scientist.

Reading (UK, Journal of the united kingdom reading association).

Review of the Independent Scholars Association of Australia.

Revista Canaria de Estudios Ingleses. (Tenerife)

Roman Lipi Sammelan (Bombay)

The Psychologist

The Scotsman

Spelling Action (Australia)

Spelling Progress Bulletin.

Spelling Progress Quarterly  

The Educational Magazine

The Encyclopaedia of Educational Media Communications and Technology

The literate Australian. (Council of Adult Education conference papers)

Times Educational Supplement Scotland.

Visible Language

Xin Tang (China)

Yule, V.  See Book, Newsletters, Media, Personal View 10, Anthology, Bulletins, Web link.

– Literate Adults’ Response to Spelling Reform. Abstract J1 1985 p7.

– reviews Ellis, A W. ‘Reading, Writing & Dyslexia’ J5 1987/2 pp28-29.

– English spelling & Pidgin: examples of international English spelling J6 1987/3 pp25-28.

– Style in Australia: current practices in spelling, punctuation, hyphenation, capitalisation J7 1988/1 pp28-30.

– Reply to Sue Palmer The importance of spelling for English culture J8 1988/2 pp29-31.

– reviews Rondthaler, E. ‘Dictionary of Simplified American Spellings’ J9 1988/3 pp32-33.

– Style Council 1988 in Melbourne Australia J10 1989/1 p31.

– Experimentl Versions of Cut Spelling – CS1 & CS2 J11 1989/2 p30.

– Children’s abilities & ‘Cut’ spelling reform J13 1992/2 pp3-8.

– Improving English spelling for readrs J14 1993/1 pp10-18.

– Public response to surplus-cut spellings J16 1994/1 pp7-16.

– Spelling & Society: Orthography & Reading – summary of a research thesis J17 1994/2 pp13-20.

– “Teach yourself to read at home by video” – problems & promises J18 1995/1 pp11-18.

– Finding, Developing, & Testing Materials on Spelling Reform J19 1995/2 p26.

– Spelling Needs Research and Research Needs Replication J20 1996/1 pp12-13.

– Teaching Reading, and Spelling Reform J21 1997/1 pp10-12.

– International English Spelling and the Internet J23 1998/1 pp8-13.

– How people spelled when they could spell as they liked. J29 2001/1 p34.

– Its the spelling that’s stupid — not me. J30 2002/1 p4.

– English spelling and comparative literacy. J30 2002/1 p26.

– English spelling for international communication. J30 2002/1 p28.

Spelling Progress Bulletin articles. Summary not made. See Tess website.



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