The Gist: Masha Bell on spelling reform, and historical present tense.

Illogical English Spelling Rules Harms Childhood Literacy. Can We Reform?

Illogical English Spelling Rules Harms Childhood Literacy. Can We Reform?

A daily news and culture podcast with Mike Pesca.
April 14 2015 8:36 PM

Ar U for Spelling Reform?

Spelling in English is so difficult that it might be hindering literacy rates. Maybe it’s time for a change.

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Could spelling reform help English literacy rates?

Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Frankieleon/Flickr.

Listen to Episode 235 of Slate’s The Gist:


Today on The Gist, an update from Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick on the abortion bans in Kansas and Oklahoma. She’s the host of the Slate podcast Amicus. Plus, Masha Bell joins us to discuss the effects of irregular English spellings on educational achievement in English-speaking countries. She’s the author of Spelling It Out: The Problems and Costs of English Spelling. For the Spiel, Mike celebrates his favorite tense: the historical present.

Today’s sponsors: Citrix GoToMeeting. When meetings matter, millions choose GoToMeeting. Get a free 30-day trial by visiting and clicking the “try it free” button. 

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Mike Pesca is the host of the Slate daily podcast The Gist. He also contributes reports and commentary to NPR.