"Louisa Moats, author of several textbooks about language, said good spelling, in a word, means credibility."If a paper or an application or a report or even an e-mail contains
spelling errors, people who read it judge it harshly," she said.
Research even shows that people with misspellings on job applications
and résumés are less likely to get interviews.
Moats and others say many public schools now give
the subject short shrift in instruction. "That's the shocking thing,"
she said. "You can walk into many classrooms these days and there is no
spelling program, there is no spelling book." Even if there is a
spelling program, she said, it's "an afterthought, and it's usually just
a list of words that kids are told to go and learn — there's very
little instruction in how it all works, how it makes sense."
J. Richard Gentry, an educational consultant and author of the 2004 book The Science of Spelling, said the USA's reading problem is partly a spelling problem.
the country we have all these fourth-graders who are failing reading
tests, and we've seen this pattern for about 15 years," he said. "Guess
what we stopped doing about 15 years ago? We pulled all the spelling
books off the shelves and stopped teaching spelling — or at least we put
it on the back burner."
Gentry said many
schools still teach spelling, but that it "varies to a ridiculous
degree." In many communities, he said, spelling has all but disappeared
simply because it isn't tested annually on state reading exams."