The Roots of Phonics: A Historical Introduction / Edition 1

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To teach phonics effectively to children learning to read, education professionals need a deep understanding of the nuances and complexities of the English language. That's why this highly influential classic is more important than ever. A book that shaped the work of the most respected and prominent literacy experts, The Roots of Phonics is finally back in print to enlighten a new generation of professionals-many of whom have not had phonics instruction themselves. Through this clear and concise history of how modern English phonics developed, readers will trace the evolution of familiar language concepts: the alphabet, syllables, vowels and consonants, spelling, pronunciation, punctuation marks, and more. As readers uncover the "big picture" of phonics and the forces that shaped it, they'll learn fascinating facts such as why our alphabet has 26 letters what sparked the phonics vs. whole language debate how Spanish, French, Dutch, Native American, and other languages influenced the development of American English what phonemes, graphemes, and morphemes are, and how they relate to each other how the invention of movable type affected writing and spelling why British spellings faded from American English how different pronunciations take hold in different regions of the country More than a history lesson, this landmark book strengthens readers' understanding of the English language and illuminates the longtime importance of phonics in education-critical insights they'll use as they help children learn to read. A must for the library of every education professional, SLP, and researcher who works to promote children's literacy.
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Editorial Reviews

author of Speech to Print - Louisa Moats
"I always keep this book within easy reach because I can rely on its accuracy, thoroughness, and detailed documentation of historical sources. Balmuth's scholarship is impeccable."
Distinguished Professor of Education Policy and Leadership,Southern Methodist University - G. Reid Lyon
"A splendid read and a meticulously researched book. . . offers rich and unique insights on the role phonics plays in different writing systems and its impact on how reading development and instruction are conceptualized. Should be required reading for all engaged in fostering literacy."
Professor Emeritus, San Jose State University - Marcia Henry
"The original Roots of Phonics was a major resource for my own dissertation. Thankfully, the book is back in print for linguists, teachers and all persons interested in the history of written language and its importance to reading instruction."
The Midwest Book Review
"Simply a must read to anyone who has wondered why they&#39re saying the words they&#39re saying."
The Newsletter of Reading Reform Foundation of New York
"Incredibly well researched, detailed, clear and conciseā€¦This immense scholarship gives the average reader or the classroom teacher a sense of the sweep of history and depth and breadth of the continuous evolution of a rich language."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781598570366
  • Publisher: Brookes, Paul H. Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 3/1/2009
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Miriam Balmuth is Professor Emeritus of hunter College of the City University of New York. Dr. Balmuth received a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from New York University and an M.S. in Elementary Education with a specialization in developmental and remedial reading at The City College of New York. Formerly Professor of Education, she helped develop and then headed the M.S. program in Reaching Teacher Education at Hunter College. She has been a classroom teacher and a reading clinician.
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