Tag Archives: ESL


Learning to read and spell can be a daunting task for some and a breeze for others. The English language is one of the hardest languages to learn for several reasons.  Spelling doesn’t always follow the rules. Phonics are not enough. Many English words are quite difficult to pronounce. The spelling of the word may give little insight as far as how one actually says a word. Think about the words “squirrel” or “strengths”. Someone who doesn’t know English will have a hard time trying to sound them out. There are so many sounds to learn. Many words have to be memorized, that’s why learning Dolch words in grades one through three are a must. Approximately 50-75% of words used in our everyday reading are comprised of Dolch or sight words.

Subtle ordering of adjectives is also a stumbling block for some folks learning to read or speak English. An example of this is, “a cute little kitten” or “a little cute kitten.” Synonyms galore also cause problems in reading as does stress on certain words in a sentence. An example–I rode my bike. I rode my bike. I rode my bike. I rode my bike. What about words like “thou,” “thee”, “thine”, and “shalt” for instance. Unfamiliar or old English words cause lots of problems, too. Irregular verbs certainly stir the reading pot. The past tense of “buy” is “bought”, and the past tense of “sell” is “sold”, and neither “buyed” nor “selled” are real words? And those are the easy ones! What about adding “ness” to swift. It becomes swiftness. Now try that with strong–strongness?? Not hardly. It becomes strength, but the opposite of that is weak–weakness. Go figure! Aren’t you glad you don’t have to learn English as a second language!


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