A Poem – Learn to Read and Write
READING AND WRITING
COMPLEMENTARY BUT DISCRETE SKILLS
Attributed to T.S. Watt, 1954, Manchester Guardian
I take it you already know
Of tough and bough and cough and dough
Others may stumble, but not you
On hiccough, thorough, tough, and through
Well done! And now you wish, perhaps
To learn of less familiar traps?
Beware of heard, a dreadful word
That looks like beard and sounds like bird
And dead; It’s said like bed, not head-…
For goodness sake don’t call it “deed”!
Watch out for meat and great and threat
(They rhyme with suite and straight and debt.)
A moth is not a moth in mother,
Nor both in bother, broth in brother,
And here is not a match for there,
Nor dear and fear for bear and pear,
And then there’s dose and rose and lose
Just look them up—and goose and choose,
And cork and work and card and ward,
And font and front and word and sword,
And do and go and thwart and cart…
Come, come, I hardly made as start!
A dreadful language? Man alive!
I’d mastered it when I was five.
And yet to write it, the more I tried
I hadn’t learned at fifty-five.
The poem speaks – pun intended—to the irregularity
of English orthography. But you, the reader, “did not stumble”.
You did not need CONTEXT, SYNTAX, OR SEMANTICS.
Was comprehension abstruse? No.
Taught correctly mastering English is easy –
even for five year olds. : )