"The reading wars have outlasted virtually every other world conflict, mostly because the combatants have only a vague idea of what they are fighting about. Venezky's account of the nature of the English spelling-sound system may not end the wars, but it helps those of us who have to keep the world going--scholars, researchers, teachers, and teacher educators. Teachers and students who immerse themselves in this volume will view the world of spelling and phonics through much clearer lenses. An absolute 'must read.'" --Robert Calfee, PhD, Dean, School of Education, University of California, Riverside
"Venezky has written an immensely interesting and informative book on American English spelling. It covers a broad range of topics, moving gracefully from the historical origins of the 26 letters to the regularities and irregularities of spelling in food and drink words, and ending with the rules of spelling useful for teaching phonics to beginning readers. My favorite line: 'No hand of consistency ever stoked the spelling engine for English.'" --Jeanne S. Chall, PhD, Professor of Education, Emeritus, Graduate School of Education, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
"Few writers on educational topics can resist the temptation to admonish and advise, especially when the topic is reading. 'What is' tends to take second place to 'what ought to be' in the eyes of such critics. Venezky's thorough and engaging analysis of how spelling patterns relate to spoken language and to reading manages to escape this temptation, providing a basis for clear thinking about the issues." --David R. Olson, PhD, Professor of Human Development and Applied Psychology, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto