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Chapter 37. Colorful Language > Color Communication

Color Communication

Color can be used as an added dimension of communication that can aid in interpreting complex information. Both my daughters went through an experimental public school that used an innovative approach to reading. If English were a phonetically regular language with uniform spelling, there would be little need for spell-checkers and hardly a word of debate about teaching phonics versus reading by rote. But the same sound in English can be spelled dozens of ways. In fact, many of the greatest irregularities in spelling and grammar tend to fall in the core vocabulary that has come down most directly from Proto-indo-european, which makes it harder on the young protoreader.

The Gatagno “words-in-color” system cleverly used color as an auxiliary clue to “decoding” the sounds of words. All the different forms of the “ay” sound—“eigh,” “ei,” “ai,” “ey,” “a,” etc.—were printed in the same color, a sort of visual training wheels that the kids were intended to outgrow.


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