Riggs News

The Riggs Institute Blog

RSS to subscribe.

Spelling Dictionaries now available!

Visit our
Discussion Group

Audio Tape/Visual Aid "Overview" and full catalog available FREE upon request.

Online ordering coming soon!

An EQUAL and OPTIMAL educational opportunity through multi-sensory language arts.

Mini (1-minute) Radio Broadcasts + Six Referral Telephone Messages


[An Unusual opportunity for some visionary, civic-minded entrepreneur/celebrity]

We believe that root causes of any failure must be discovered before problems of any magnitude can be solved. This nation's failure to teach basic reading, writing, and spelling skills to nearly 94 million American adults and millions of American school children is one tragedy which requires much closer scrutiny than it has been given. Twenty years ago, this writer, in effecting an almost "total cure" in an inner-city school in Omaha, Nebraska, which resulted in very high achievement and no failures, discovered valuable information which she would now like to share with others.

The Riggs Institute is seeking a civic-minded, advertising/marketing-skilled individual to facilitate the broadcast of 25 "mini" messages. Information contained in the messages may well be the best kept secret of the past century. They can provide important information to teachers, schools, parents, tutors, literacy volunteers, and corporate literacy directors which can, in turn, empower them to effect tremendous improvement in the teaching of English language skills. Many Americans, including the 94 million, must get much of their information from radio and television. The messages which follow (after our letter to radio stations) are extremely important "bites" of literacy information for those who have not mastered English print skills. This is also a viable business opportunity for someone who has a desire to help our nation regain its rightful place in the world marketplace through a literate workforce. Please read the messages. If you are interested in the potential help they could offer, please call us to get the business details. The proposed cover letter to radio networks and stations answer pertinent questions for you and for:

  1. Teachers looking for a "skills package" for their whole language programs.
  2. Parents needing help with their "at-risk" children.
  3. Adults needing help with writing, spelling and reading.
  4. There is also:

  5. Explanation of the difference between old-fashioned phonics for pronunciation and the science of phonetics for precise speech and correct spelling.
  6. The history and experience of The Riggs Institute.
  7. Research which supports our statements.


To: Radio Networks & Stations

The Riggs Institute has a unique answer to the illiteracy epidemic which now invades one of every three American homes. Our nation is in trouble in the globalmarketplace. Among our workers, 94 million American adults are "functionally illiterate" while our very best students are in 49th place in international language competitions. Violence on the streets, in homes, and schools runs rampant. Billions are spent on new prison cells, and "band-aid" social programs absorb almost all available private and government funding. We talk educational reform (and spend billions on it) without determining root causes for the present failures. We aim for the results we want -- world class students -- without a concrete plan to produce them. However painful, it's time to determine cause before designing even more cures which will not work! Our 25 mini literacy messages need to be disseminated through the voice media. We need you as a marketing partner.

Most homes and automobiles have radios - in fact, homes with functional illiteracy rely on radio and TV for information which others read. A print copy of our informative 1-minute messages is attached, along with follow- up voice phone messages. The messages are real and are vital to classroom and remedial teachers, tutors, literacy volunteers, and parents. They are truly critical to 94 million American adults and to at least 30% of the present school population. These information "points of light" will keep listeners tuned to your station! They are offered FREE of charge to cooperating stations though they are truly a syndicate-type mini broadcast on a topic of unprecedented public need and interest.

Most public service type messages tend to be repetitive and boring. These are different in that the information is new and valuable each time. Gradually listeners learn why their language skills are poor and how they might improve them. Your station can help to change the literacy picture in America and keep your listeners listening to your station.

We ask you to judge the value of our work by studying the content and potential impact of the 20-second (and follow-up phone) messages authored by the undersigned. You will see that real information is offered in these messages, not merely hoopla in place of hope.

Please note the first message which reveals the primary need for the rest. References are available. The Riggs Institute is a self-supporting, non-profit corporation.

We would also like to participate in talk or interview shows if such are available. We can furnish names of other knowledgeable individuals who are interesting and informative "talk show" guests. We promise valid, interesting, and upbeat commentary which will keep your listeners glued to their seats and lighting up your telephone lines. Thank you for your earliest consideration. Please call if you have question or suggestions.


Note: Message in upper case, italic, bold letters is repeated with each of the 22 literacy "points of light."


"Correct spelling patterns for the sounds of English speech and the rules of our language, generally, have not been taught at the teacher training level in America since the early 1930's (after the introduction of Dick and Jane). We now have 3 generations of Americans who do not have accurate information about the structure of English words! This has had a devastating effect on overall literacy."


Alternate messages follow:

"Not all children learn the same way. Some are not 'visual' in their learning patterns, therefore, phonetics, spelling and reading must be taught through more than one neurological pathway to the mind. The Riggs Institute uses sight, sound, voice and writing. SEEING IT, HEARING IT, SAYING IT, and WRITING IT does not discriminate against any type of inborn 'learning style'."

"Learning styles are neurologically based. They have nothing to do with the innate ability to learn. Just as we would not put a tone deaf or color blind child into a classroom where all teaching was presented only through musical tones or colors, we should not put the 'non-visual' learner into classrooms which rely on 'visually-oriented' printed materials for instruction. To do so is to invite student failure and to risk possible charges of discrimination."

"According to the 1994 federal report, The National Education Goals Report: Building a Nation of Learners, 90 million U.S. adult citizens read and write at the two lowest of five levels of proficiency. By some others' estimates, this equates to functional illiteracy. The report also says, 'Despite the fact that nearly half of all American adults scored at the two lowest of five levels of proficiency, nearly all American adults believed that they could read and write English well'."

"Classroom teachers are surprised and pleased to find out that there's much more to the teaching of complete phonetics, with 47 rules of spelling, plurals and syllabication, than they had previously realized. Combining the necessary basic skills (phonetics, letter formation, spacing margins, spelling with rules) with writing and reading makes 'integrated' or 'whole' language goals a viable probability for almost all students."

"Comprehension is not the first task of teaching reading. First graders already say, pronounce, and comprehend the word cat and between 4,000 to 24,000 other words [Seashore, Chall, Flesch]. Teachers must teach what the students don't already do -- that is: separate or segment the sounds of these words for instant recognition on paper by quickly teaching a complete phonemic/graphemic (or sound/symbol) phonetic system."

"All 'decodable text' reading materials can be fairly judged only by comparison to the 'content' of the phonics instruction offered. Current publisher-offered and 'delayed' simplistic phonics requires that 'decodable text' be dumbed down to inferior levels in content, interest and vocabulary. Even 'See Dick run' cannot be decoded with a delayed, one-sound-for-each-alphabet-letter (average 1999/2000 publisher norm) taught in an entire first year of instruction."

"When direct, voiced phonics instruction is eliminated in favor of presenting phonics visually on consumable and printed worksheets, this is not "explicit" phonics instruction. Neurologically, such "visual" instruction does not address the learning needs of up to 30% of all students because it does not make the necessary brain connection between the sound or sounds and the letter/s representing them on paper. It is discriminatory for the non-visual learner, and can never be an acceptable solution to the worldwide English literacy crisis."

"A complete phonetic system should teach 70 - 75 common spelling patterns for the 42 sounds of speech -- all the sounds needed to say over one-half million English words. It is a reliable beginning for learning to spell, write and read at one's oral vocabulary levels. Teaching this information explicitly (without key words, pictures, or letter names) follows compiled research, and is comparable to teaching the multiplication tables before assigning problems."

"In the 1960's, 'schwa' pronunciations ( the 'uh' sound we hear and say for the vowels a, e, i and oin unstressed syllables -- for example, u genst vs a gainst) were put into American dictionaries. This further separated acceptable pronunciations from their spelling patterns, and caused many teachers to mistrust phonics as a reliable teaching tool. When teachers learn that there is still a reasonable way to correlate speech patterns with correct spellings, they are thrilled!"

"English-speaking six-year-olds can speak and understand some 4,000 to 24,000 words -- words they pronounce and listen to with understanding according to researchers, Seashore, Chall, Flesch. They will use the exact same 42 sounds or phonemes of English speech to pronounce over 1/2 million English words. Learning correct spellings for these sounds is a practical beginning and the only thing which 'maps' to standard bookprint. This is the alphabetic principle."

"The U.S. Justice Department's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's has defined literacy this way: 'to be able to read, write and spell what one can listen to and say with comprehension' (Federal Register). To capture the attention & interest of children who watch television, print recognition needs to match speech, vocabulary, and interest levels as quickly as possible in order to facilitate reading at one's interest level."

"Literacy is more than just the mere ability to read. We must teach children to listen intently, to speak precisely, to comprehend both speech and print, and to express themselves both orally and in written form -- the latter being one of the best ways of clarifying their own thinking. They need to develop their vocabularies, learn correct grammar and syntax, legible handwriting, capitalization, and punctuation."

"Educational reform should begin with improving the way we teach our own language. All other learning of significance relies upon well-developed language skills. Many who promote educational improvement talk about reform, but have not yet identified the root causes of illiteracy, and, therefore, are unable to prescribe a specific cure.

"English is a sound/symbol system; it is not a pictographic one. 71 letters and letter combinations commonly spell the 42 sounds used to say over 1/2 million English words. We need to teach these correct spelling patterns first. Dr. Linnea Ehri, CUNY, calls this "graphophonemic awareness" (see www.riggsinst.org). Teaching these initially -- without key pictures or words -- is called explicit phonics, the kind of phonics which the federally compiled research in (Becoming a Nation of Readers) recommends."

"Teaching letter names, and key pictures and words can be counterproductive in beginning reading instruction. For instance, teaching 'aah' - apple - 'aah' or 'k' cat 'k,' using both words and pictures, requires two extra thought processes each time the student wants to use a or c in other words. Adding letter names and capital letter formation adds another two extraneous thought processes. All four delay fluency in word recognition, a prerequisite for comprehension -- the purpose of reading."

"Purist whole language programs rely primarily on memorizing whole words. Their authors claim that if children learn speech by being spoken to, they will learn print skills -- reading, writing, and spelling -- by merely being exposed to print. Maria Montessori and prominent brain researchers have said this will not happen except for a few visually gifted children. This does not mean that the overall goals of whole language programs are incorrect, only some of their methods."

"Invented spelling" practices were/are popularized by the demand for early primary composition -- without the prerequisite skills. Students place incorrect engrams in their own brains through the encouragement to practice writing (arguably the strongest modality) with incorrect information. To demonstrate to yourself, write the words: food, do, flew, blue, through, fruit, you, two and shoe. replacing all the /oo/ phonemes with the oo grapheme to see the detrimental cognitive effects of the most popular, computer-driven 'invented spelling' program in the country. IBM's Writing to Read."

"No one can tell positively which way/ways children will learn best, but simultaneous instruction through sight, sound, voice, and writing automatically teaches through an individual's stronger neurological pathways while it remedies the weaker ones. And, most of us are born with some weaker avenues. For optimal cognitive development, acceleration, and prevention of learning disorders, multi-sensory teaching should begin at early primary levels using only correct and properly sequenced information."

"Most programs teach numerous consonant blends such as str, ld, pr, etc., which each retain their elementary sounds even when blended, but the same programs neglect new sounds formed when some other letters are combined. For instance, au is never sounded 'aah' - 'uh,' but forms a new sound by being combined: 'aw'; igh is not 'i' -'g' - 'h,' but simply says long 'i.' in a word like fight. Very bright children who have had the wrong kind of phonics instruction can fail because they don't know these simple facts."

"A complete phonetic system should immediately teach two sounds for the graphemes (letters), c, g and s, and then the rule which says, 'if /c/ comes before e, i or y, it says 's'.' Very young children can then immediately sound out and read words like cent, city and cycle; they can also recognize that as, is, was, hers, his and the s used to form the plural of hundreds of words ending in a vowel or a voiced consonant sound are pronounced with the second sound of s, which is 'z.'."

"The letter r is often mis-taught as 'er' or 'ruh' -- both of which are incorrect. We do not take an 'er-ride' or a 'ruh-ide' downtown. The phoneme /er/ is one of the 42 phonemes or sounds of English speech, but it is commonly and correctly spelled with the graphemes er, ir, ur, wor and ear. If students have been taught that r says 'er,' then spell the word burn as brn, think of their frustration when they get it marked wrong!"

"Phonics and spelling rules are necessary for children who simply cannot sight memorize whole words. Of some 47 spelling, syllable and plural rules, beginning children need to know, very quickly, the three ways that vowels will say their names in English words -- and the reasons for five silent final e's at the end of words. This allows spelling and reading of the many words already in their vocabularies, which are a complete mystery otherwise."

"Nationwide, test scores go down at the 3rd grade level. This has caused frustration and mystery for teachers and parents. A plausible answer may be that early reading may have been taught through sight memorization of a few hundred short words. When words become longer, pictures fewer, and contextual clues less reliable, it is often discovered that the child really doesn't know how to read after all!"

"Bilingual programs can be made highly effective by simply translating a proven English spelling/ reading/writing method into the bilingual or ESL student's native language -- for just a half year transitional program. Pertinent research says that English teaching will move much further and faster if students have become somewhat print literate in their native language. They need to know how speech 'maps' to print before learning a foreign language (in this case English)."

"Children or adults who have regularly attended school, but who have not learned to read, are generally confronted by two major issues: First, their learning pathways may not be strongly 'visual' -- the primary mode of teaching English for the past 70 years. Secondly, they have not been given sufficient phonetic information to be able to spell and read words which are at their vocabulary and interest levels."

"In the year 2000, most schools, teachers, and the public now believe that our children are again getting real phonics instruction. Nothing could be further from the truth. The 'standards' movement, the monopolistic and archaic state textbook adoption process, the dumbed down "decodable" texts, and questionable assessment procedures and instruments, all without the curriculum and teacher training to produce the desired results, spell continuing disaster."

"We need to fill the known gaps in research and finally discover what has been amiss for 70 years. It is senseless to announce that all children will learn to read by grade three when monopolistic textbook adoptions make it impossible to approve curriculum to meet those goals. Standards drive testing, and testing drives curriculum except where legislators continue to empower the establishment which has caused the present failure."



Click here for real audio: "Instead of reading this website OR if you are an auditory learner, call 1-900- ___________for a variety of recorded messages. For this cost multiply your minute rate charges by the length of time you stay on the phone. There are six different messages; You may listen to one or all of these messages. Hello, you've reached The Riggs Institute -- a non-profit literacy agency and small publishing house. Our public service literacy initiatives are self-supporting through the sale of our published materials and training programs. The six recorded messages available by phone are appropriate for English-speaking individuals only. You may select one or more messages and are charged only for a normal long distance call to White, South Dakota, for whatever length of time you stay on the line. You should have a pencil handy to jot down the number and a key word as you listen to your choices (pause): Number your paper from 1 to 6 (pause).

  1. If you are an adult who needs help with reading, writing or spelling skills, press 1 (write A for adult)
  2. If you are a parent with a child who needs help with language skills, press 2 (write P for parent)
  3. If you are an elementary classroom teacher and want to find out how you can add phonetics, spelling and handwriting skills to your present literature and composition or basal program, press 3 (write T for teacher)
  4. If you want to hear our explanation of the differences between old-fashioned phonics for reading and pronunciation and phonetics for precise speech and correct spelling, PLUS a description of multi-sensory teaching, press #4. (write PH for phonics)
  5. If you want a brief history and the credentials of The Riggs Institute, press #5 (write H for history)
  6. If you would like to inquire about compiled research which supports our statements, press #6 (write R for research).
  7. You will have an opportunity to listen to all the messages if you wish. Please keep a paper and pencil handy for taking some notes as well as our mailing address. You will be able to order our materials anytime at the end of each message or at the end of all the messages by hanging up and redialing our order line 1-800-200- 4840.

    The 800 line is for orders only. You may now press 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 for your first choice. If you listen to all the messages, during daytime hours, the average cost of your phone call from anyplace in the U.S. will be less than $10.

    Message #1 Question:

    As an adult with language problems, what are the most common causes for intelligent people failing to learn to read, write and spell?

    In our opinion, the overriding reason that many people do not learn adequate reading, writing, and spelling skills is that for the past nearly 70 years the teaching of reading, writing, and spelling has been directed primarily to the visual learner. Many people (perhaps up to 30%) are not born "visual" learners. This is a "born" condition similar to being tone deaf or color blind. Just as no one would dream of putting a tone-deaf or color blind person into a classroom where everything else (as in reading, writing, spelling, math, science, etc.) was taught only through musical tones or colors, we should not put non- visual learners in classrooms where visualized memorization is the primary method of teaching. They could have perfect 20/20 vision yet not be capable of memorizing the shape, form and configuration of whole words -- especially words beyond the 2-, 3- and 4-letter short words from grade one readers.

    Very bright, but non-visual learners will have great difficulty learning in such classrooms. None of these neurologically-based deficiencies have anything to do with a person's IQ or innate ability to learn. Our multi-sensory brain-based instruction can address the strengths of any individual's learning style which may be auditory (through hearing) and/or kinesthetically, through voicing and writing. Probably the worst cases happen with those individuals who are weak visually, and strong auditorially. They have been missed both ways since a majority of programs are or have been weak auditorially.

    The second most important problem causing great difficulty for many learners is that the popular programs in the past 70 years, since the Dick and Jane readers were introduced in the 30's, have not taught enough information about phonics, how the sounds of speech match the spelling patterns and rules of the printed language . When just a little phonics is taught and is delayed over a 3 or 4 year period of time - perhaps enough to read simple 2, 3 and 4 letter words, it is not nearly enough phonics to spell even an English speaking first grader's oral vocabulary. Reading and writing (translated: learning and communicating) assignments must then be "dumbed down" to accommodate this too little, too late phonics teaching. You ask, but isn't spelling much more difficult? Yes, it is because to spell, one must build the words from spoken sounds instead of just seeing and deciphering what is already on paper as we do for reading. But spelling is also much more easily organized with the use of complete phonetics and some 47 rules of the language, which we teach for spelling, plurals and syllabication. Spelling is also the only reliable means to read anything anyone has yet written in the world because correct spelling matches standard book print and was normalized across the English-speaking world by the dictionary makers, Webster and the Oxford, in the mid 1850's. It has changed only a little in the past 150 years. Speech, on the other hand, and the push for phonemic awareness, is far from regular worldwide. Of the 40 to 46 elementary or "pure" sounds of English speech, in all the dialects of English spoken worldwide there are more than 250 different nuances of sounds. You may want to consider ordering some further printed information. Many of you who read fairly well may still have severe difficulties with writing and spelling, which our teaching method addresses first.

    To cover postage and printing, please send $2 to the non-profit Riggs Institute (that's The RIGGS Institute) at 21106 479th Ave., White, South Dakota, 57276. That's White, South Dakota, 57276. for a comprehensive package of informational materials. We also have a web page on the Internet at www.riggsinst.org

    If you wish to listen to the other messages of this call, please press #'s 2,3,4, 5 or 6 or if you wish to have this message repeated, press #1 again. You may order materials which carry a full 30-day money back guarantee by calling 1-800- 200-4840. Thank you for calling The Riggs Institute.

    Message #2 Question:

    We have been told that our child may never learn to read or spell accurately. What can parents do to help their children acquire better language skills?

    Answer: First, it is our belief, and a subject of research, that virtually all children can acquire acceptable reading, writing and spelling skills if the method used takes their learning style into careful consideration, AND if the information taught about the structure of English words is accurate, complete and is taught in the proper order.

    Secondly, it is to the child's advantage if any difficulties are discovered at an early age. Though we have not had this experience, research also says that it may take up to 10 times as long to teach a body of information to a failing 4th grader as to teach the same information to a beginning learner.

    Third, it is critical to understand what information is needed to be able to spell or read English words correctly if one cannot simply memorize whole words.

    English is a sound/symbol system, not a pictographic system, as it has generally been taught for the past 70 years. 26 letters of our alphabet, singly and in some set combinations, spell the 42 sounds of English speech -- all the sounds needed to say over 1/2 million English words. Since 6 year olds can speak and understand between 4000 to 24,000 words, made up of these 42 sounds, it is a reasonable and efficient plan to teach them how to encode or spell these sounds. The Riggs Institute does this by teaching the 70 phonograms which are letters and combinations of letters which represent one sound in an individual word.

    Children See, Hear, Say and Write the symbols or letters which stand for the sounds as they are dictated. Using this multi- sensory technique addresses every child's learning style while it remedies and strengthens any weaker avenues they may have IF it is taught as a simultaneous process.

    This method combines the way English words were taught approximately 150 years ago - (the information) with the latest in brain research utilizing knowledge about how the brain functions in learning language. This process was perfected by a Dr. Samuel T. Orton, a neuropathologist who studied and, together with teachers, used clinical research on brain-damaged individuals for some 25 years to determine how the brain functions in learning language. Romalda Spalding wrote a text, The Writing Road to Reading, which was published in 1957 and which reflected his findings. The Riggs Institute has now published similar materials which go beyond letter formation, phonetics and spelling into grammar, composition and vocabulary development. Our current materials are entitled: The Writing and Spelling Road to Reading and Thinking: A Neurolinguistic Approach to Cognitive Development and English Literacy.

    You may order additional in-depth printed information by sending $3 to cover printing, postage and handling to The Riggs Institute 21106 479th Ave., White, South Dakota, 57276 or access our FREE web page on the Internet at http://www.riggsinst.org.

    You may also hear other messages on this voice message line by pressing #'s 1, 3, 4, 5 or 6 or this message can be repeated by pressing #2 again. You may order our starter materials package with a 30- day money-back guarantee for $29.50, or our complete package for $135.95 both including shipping & handling, by phoning our order line 1-800-200-4840. Thank you for calling The Riggs Institute's voice information number.

    Message #3 Question:

    What can I do to improve language arts skills in my classroom? How does your method fit with whole language programs? What about the newer "decodable text/workbook" programs?

    If you are using a whole language or literature and composition-based program, you needn't change your goals but simply add to the "skills" you teach with it. Experience and research are now showing that most whole language systems do not provide the requisite basic skills to allow all students to really acquire a "whole language" capability. The basic skills method which we recommend fills this gap. It adequately prepares the student to do the reading and writing expected of them AND to do it accurately from the beginning. We do this by specifically teaching dictated letter formation to correct perceptual problems, reversals, and to enhance listening skills, complete phonetics and dictated spelling lessons, with 47 rules of the language for correct spelling. The letter formation component and multi-sensory phonics instruction takes about 3 weeks to teach 55 (of the 71) common phonograms which involve correct spelling patterns for the 42 sounds (phonemes) of English speech. Researchers such as Marilyn Jager-Adams who wrote Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning About Print, the Orton Society for Dyslexia, and administrators at the California State Department of Education, for a while, were saying that phonics and whole language need not remain mutually exclusive ideas, that they could and should be successfully used together. However, this idea quickly gave way to the phonemic awareness, decodable text/workbook, and standards movement which publishers and the IRA, NCTE and NAEYC currently have in place for a reading reform movement. Instead of workbooks and phony, too little, too late phonics and dumbed down texts, our skills program is specifically designed to enhance literature and composition-based programs. No workbooks, which take the student time and most of the allotted funds, are needed. We very much support the end goals of "whole" or integrated language arts programs -- teaching across-the-curriculum to save time, some (not all) cooperative learning and the emphases on composition, vocabulary development and vocabulary-rich literature. Becoming a Nation of Readers has only 12 pages covering the phonics issue; almost all of the rest of this federally compiled research on what works in reading instruction supports most of the concepts of whole language programs.

    Our program is not used to best advantage with any program which expects to instill skills and cognition in students with workbooks. We think that the insipid and boring decodable texts will never inspire our children to learn or appreciate the richness of the English language -- now, arguably, the most successful language in the history of the world. We regularly have primary students reading vocabulary-rich, interesting literature starting in the 9th to 15th week of beginning instruction, but we do not do that by expecting to read and write the first week without the skills instruction to teach them specifically how to do it.

    We teach listening skills, spacing, margins and letter formation as we teach the phonetic base in the first 9 weeks of school at both primary and/or any remedial levels. These skills are then applied first to spell the 2600 most commonly used English words which, in turn, are used in oral and written sentences. Whole language or other literature and further opportunities for creative expression are expanded as vocabulary development, comprehension and thinking skills are stressed. The content of the materials to be read by the students we leave to the discretion of the school, teachers, or parents and community involved; composition skills can be practiced "across the curriculum." This program can be adapted for any age, 4 to 94, but was originally produced for 1 - 4 or K - 3 grade levels.

    A one-hour taped/visual aid "overview" package including our University of Oregon monograph, "Phonetics, Spelling, Whole Language: How We Put Them Together for the Best of Both Worlds," is available along with a PowerPoint presentation of major concepts. Southern Arkansas University offers 3 semester hours of grad and under-grad credit for our on-site training seminars (about half of our schools implement this program without formal training) and a 6-semester-hour graduate or undergraduate correspondence credit practicum. We are expecting to add online training courses in 2001. Please see our web page, inservice and listserv newsletter offerings on the Internet at: http://www.riggsinst.org.

    You may order our starter materials package for $55.00 (tape, cards and audio CD of the Orton phonograms) or our complete package for $172.00, both including book rate shipping and each with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Please phone our order line at 1-800-200-4840. Have your VISA or MC handy, or we also accept faxed copies of P.O.'s from recognized schools and other institutions. For a brief history and credentials of the Riggs Institute, press #5. You may also press numbers 1, 2, and 4 or # 6 for other recorded messages or #3 for a repeat of this message. Thank you for calling The Riggs Institute's informational voice mail number.

    Message #4 Question:

    What are the differences between old fashioned phonics for reading and pronunciation and complete explicit phonetics for precise speech and correct spelling?

    At various times during the past 60 years since the Dick and Jane readers were introduced in the early 30's, some phonics instruction has been included in the programs used in most of this country's schools. When this happened, early primary instruction has involved teaching one sound for each of the 26 letters of the alphabet, a few common digraphs such as sh, th and ch and hundreds of blends such as str, nd, pl, etc. Sometimes 2 sounds are taught for the five vowels at least by the end of grade 2. This information has been taught incidentally or "implicitly" as the sounds occur in words children might be encountering in their reading exercises. For instance, a teacher may write the words soft, slip, sand, etc. and ask students to identify what sounds these words have in common. Rarely have the sound/symbol relationships been taught, in isolation, (explicitly) for later applications in either reading or correct spelling. The teaching of "explicit" phonics has been recommended over "implicit" phonics since the federal compilation of all reading research; this report was issued as Becoming a Nation of Readers in 1985.

    The 60-year great debate about phonics has yet to be officially defined since the known research done through 1985 did not identify what sound/symbol relationships should be taught. We submit that all "phonics" is not equal. The teaching practices of The Riggs Institute involves teaching the letters and letter combinations which stand for the 42 sounds or phonemes of English speech - not merely the letters of the alphabet which allow the reading and spelling of phonetically- regular, short words. only. We teach 71 phonograms or 118 combinations which cover correct spelling patterns.

    Note: Actually there are over 250 nuances of sounds and as many dictionary key symbols used to designate all these sounds in all the dialects of English spoken worldwide. However, the use of 42 "pure" sounds and 71 "common" phonograms has been found to be a sufficient "working set" to enable primary children to encode the vast majority of words which are in their spoken or comprehensible vocabularies. These facts show the fallacy of relying on the phoneme only -- the current thrust of "reading reform thinking" across this country and much of the English speaking world. Phonemic segmentation or auditory processing of each separate sound is taught through dictation (in our method) and through direct application to the relatively stable spelling patterns of English which have survived since the mid 1800's when they were normalized. This process also uses 47 rules of English orthography (spelling. We teach spelling & writing first because good spellers are invariably good readers while the reverse is not true.

    You may read our FREE website at: http://www.riggsinst.org or send $2 to cover printing, postage and handling, to The Riggs Institute, 21106 479th Ave., White, South Dakota, 57276 for additional indepth information including one of our published articles, "Phonics Is Phonics Is Phonics or Is It?" Accredited training classes and non-consumable teacher curriculum materials are available to assist in the teaching of explicit phonics along with a basic skills package for all of the "strands" of English language arts. You may press 1,2,3 or 5 & 6 for other recorded messages or #4 to have this message repeated. Thank you for calling The Riggs Institute.

    Message #5 Question:

    I am interested in the background, history and credentials of The Riggs Institute.

    The Riggs Institute was incorporated in 1979 as a tax-exempt, non- profit 501 (c) (3) literacy agency which status has been maintained steadily from then to the present day. Our work has primarily involved making others aware that effective spelling, writing and reading instructional methods and training are already available and to assist in facilitating their optimal use by teachers, parents, tutors and others concerned with the U.S. crisis in literacy. To that end we have primarily promoted the use of a certain philosophy of instruction which derives from the research of neuropathologist Dr. Samuel T. Orton and various teachers who worked under his supervision. Our adapted and extended materials are entitled: The Writing and Spelling Road to Reading and Thinking with a subtitle: A Neurolinguistic Approach to Cognitive Development and English Literacy.

    The Riggs Institute was recognized in a 1987 federal report, Private Sector Alternatives for Preventing Reading Failure, as one of 27 private sector organizations (quote "that have a proven track record of success in assisting teachers in translating recommendations for reform in reading instruction into reality." The report, published by Educational Research Associates of Portland, OR. is also available through our catalog. To date, our outreach is 99.5% self-supporting through the sale of our materials and inservice programs. Tax deductible donations are always welcome.

    We were instrumental in assisting in the passage of PL 99-425, better known as the Zorinsky Amendment, which asked that existing reading instructional programs be examined for their compliance with the compiled research in the report, Becoming a Nation of Readers. The legislation, passed unanimously by both houses of Congress in 1986, asked, in particular, for an examination of the phonics question. Our curriculum materials have now been favorably reviewed as a basic skills component in this long overdue study, pages 51 & 52, which was completed and published in June of 1993. This study, entitled "The Beginning Reading Instruction Study" is available from the U.S. Government Printing Office Order Desk, 202-783-3238, GPO Stock # 065-000-00575-1. In 1997, the Reading, English and Communications ERIC Clearinghouse made a link directly to our website and to several articles within our web pages after no mention of the work of Dr. Samuel T. Orton or any of his protégés including Romalda Spalding, Anna Gillingham since 1923.

    Our training programs are accredited by the College of Education, Southern Arkansas University, Dr. Donald Nelson, Professor of Record, as well as the University of Oregon's Department of Continuing Education. We have recently received approval by the California State Department of Education for their Out-Of-Cycle Compliance Review which authorizes Calif. schools to purchase our materials with up to 30% of their instructional funds monies. The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Alexandria, Va., included our materials in their Curriculum Materials Directory under their ETRC File Number 00042. We also either distribute or refer inquiries on most government research on the subject of reading instruction and phonics.

    A FREE one-hour taped/visual aid "overview" package including our University of Oregon monograph, "Phonetics, Spelling, Whole Language: How We Put Them Together for the Best of Both Worlds," is available along with a PowerPoint presentation of major concepts. Southern Arkansas University offers 3 semester hours of grad and under-grad credit for our on site training seminars (about half of our schools implement this program without formal training) and a 6-semester-hour graduate or undergraduate correspondence credit practicum. We are expecting to add online training courses in 2001. Please see our web page, inservice and listserv newsletter offerings on the Internet at:


    You may order our starter materials package for $55.00 (tape, cards and audio CD of the Orton phonograms) or our complete package for $172.00, both including book rate shipping and each with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Please phone our order line at 1-800-200-4840. Have your VISA or MC handy, or we also accept faxed copies of P.O.'s from recognized schools and other institutions. For a brief history and credentials of the Riggs Institute, press #5. You may also press numbers 1, 2, and 4 or # 6 for other recorded messages or #3 for a repeat of this message. Thank you for calling The Riggs Institute's informational voice mail number.

    Message #6 Question:

    Is there research which supports your stated positions?

    Yes, we can refer you to several publications. Among the most important which you may order from our online catalog are:

    Becoming a Nation of Readers - a 1985 federal report of 50 years of compiled research on "what works" in reading instruction; we include a FREE critique of the chapter on phonics to point out some discrepancies, omissions and the obvious need for more directed research. It is also available from The Center for the Study of Reading, University of Illinois at Champaign, Ill.

    Preventing Reading Failure: An Examination of the Myths of Reading Instruction, by Dr. Patrick Groff - federally sponsored by The National Council for Educational Research and Improvement is an exhaustive study of reading instruction from historical and research perspectives. It is now available from Educational Research Associates' National Book Company, Portland, Oregon. (pause)

    Private Sector Alternatives for Preventing Reading Failure, Dr. Patrick Groff - another in-depth federal study to identify private sector organizations and agencies with a "proven track record of assisting teachers to implement recommended changes in reading instruction." Also available from Educational Research Associates' National Book Company, Portland, Oregon. (pause)

    The Complete Handbook of Children's Reading Disorders by Dr. Hilde L. Mosse - for many years, head psychiatrist for the N.Y. City school system. Her book compiles 1000 case histories of disabled and emotionally-disturbed children M.D. Mosse personally taught to read using Spalding's WRTR. She found that the majority of their psychological problems cleared up in the process. We have her Reading Acts Test available in nonconsumable print ($4.50) and/or PC disk ($15.00). The paperback edition is also available through Amazon. com.

    First Lessons: A Report on Elementary Education in America - 1986 by U.S. Sec. of Education William Bennett - is really a blueprint for what elementary education in America should include; it contains extensive footnotes and bibliography. It is no longer available from the Supt. of Documents, but being in the public domain, is reprinted by The Riggs Institute Press.

    What Works II, 1987, Wm. Bennett, U. S. Department of Education, compiled research studies on content and types of instructional methods which have been proven to work in all disciplines.

    All Language & The Creation of Literacy: From International Association for Dyslexia (former Orton Society for Dyslexia; collection of four "papers" from Marilyn Adams, Dr. Jeanne Chall, Joanna Williams and Sylvia Richardson which examine, among other things, the practicalities of putting phonics and whole language programs together.

    The Beginning Reading Instruction Study by Dr. Marcie Stein & staff under the Office of Research, U.S. Dept. of Education, is the report on available reading instructional materials demanded by PL 99-425 - a consumer information report on available programs versus the compiled research in what is proven to be effective. It is available from the Supt. of Documents, U.S. Government printing office, ISBN # 0-16-041824-0.

    Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning About Print, 1991, the latest compiled reading research by Marilyn Jager-Adams, full text available from MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass.

    There is also a great deal of compiled empirical evidence of the efficacy of this approach to teaching.

    With the exception of the last two studies, these books are all available through our catalog. You may order also order our starter kit materials package for $55.00, or our complete package for $172.00, both postpaid and with a full 30-day money-back guarantee. Phone our toll free order line 1-800-200-4840. Thank you again for calling The Riggs Institute's information line. For FREE print information only, please send $2 for shipping & handling to Riggs Institute, 21106 479th Ave., White, South Dakota, 57276.

    If you are interested in assisting us in the broadcast of these messages on radio, as a celebrity voice, or as a syndicator, distributor, or advertising agency, etc. please call Carolyn Knutson at 605-693-4454 for additional information.

    This material is copyrighted and may not be duplicated without the express written permission of The Riggs Institute.