David Booth has compiled a series of writings called Spelling Links: Reflections on Spelling and Its Place in the Curriculum. The book examines spelling historically and developmentally and then gets down to varying suggestions on the formal and informal teaching of spelling. It's a helpful volume, but my favorite is this poem which is printed there. I like it because it encourages word play, my own choice for spelling instruction:
"Why English Is So Hard
We'll begin with box, the plural is boxes.
But the plural of ox should be oxen, not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of mouse is never meese.
You may find a lone mouse, or a whole nest of mice,
But the plural of house is houses, not hice.
If the plural of man is always men,
Why shoulnd't the plural of pan be called pen?
The cow in the plural may be called cows or kine,
But a bow, if repeated, is never called bine;
And the plural of vow is vows, not vine.
If I speak of a foot and you show me two feet,
And I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
Why shouldn't the plural of booth be called beeth?
If the singular's this, and the plural these,
Should the plural of kiss ever be written kese?
We speak of a brother, and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say mothren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his, and him,
But imagine the feminine, she, shis, and shim!
So English, I think you all will agree,
Is the funniest language you ever did see."
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