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Elementary Educators/How would an American school teacher react when an adult


QUESTION: How would an American school teacher react when an adult give them a children’s book that is published in British English, using British spelling and grammar rules that is different than in the United States. Most British women would consider this book appropriate for children.

ANSWER: There are many excellent children's books that do use British spelling and even some words that are unfamiliar to an American student.  A good teacher would and should do a pre-reading exercise with the children explaining the different spellings and words that they are about to encounter in the book.  This would help the student understand the vocabulary ahead of time so that they will have a better understanding of the content of the story.
I hope that I have answered your question.

Most Sincerely,
Lynn McDermott
Reading Specialist

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QUESTION: What would you do when one of your students is from the United Kingdom and writes with British English, using British spelling and grammar rules because nobody thought her American spelling? What would you do when most of your American students cannot understand the British child, because she speaks different than the American students? You and all the other teachers at your school have no trouble understanding the British child. Why would an American child that lives with American parents in the United States, but listens to the BBC World Service and watches BBC world news everyday have an easier time understanding the British child?

Should you let a British woman read both children's books that works at the same school in the United States? The adult advices you to let the British women read the two children’s books first. The British woman is a secretary at the same American school that you work.

You have asked a few questions and I will answer the ones that I feel qualified to answer.  If a student is from the United Kingdom and writes with British English, it is up to the teacher to teach the student the American spelling.  If the student is to remain in the United States and if the student is going to continue her education in the United States, she will have to learn the American spellings and the American language so that she can be successful in the United States.  As far as other children understanding the British English, it will take time and effort on everyone's part.  The British dialect is not all that different so the American students should be encouraged to be patient and try to understand the differences in languages and cultures.  The British student will also have to be patient and perhaps speak slower in order to help American students understand what she is saying.  The more people hear people's accents, the easier it is to pick up an understanding of what is being said.  That is probably why the American child who hears the accent on television or elsewhere, will be better able to understand.  I think that exposing children to different cultures is a good thing.  We are a very diverse society here in the United States and I do think that exposure will help children understand our differences.  So, yes, I would welcome a British woman to come into my classroom to read to the children.
I hope this answers your questions.
Lynn McDermott
Reading Specialist

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Lynn McDermott


I am a retired reading specialist. I taught reading to children in grades 1-4 for 32 years. I can answer questions from parents or educators about problems children may be having with their reading. I can offer some ideas to parents, teachers and tutors on how to help children to become better readers.


I worked with small groups of children in a public elementary school setting. I have also worked with and trained teachers in the field of reading. I have also done one-to-one tutoring in the field of reading.

My undergraduate degree is in English and my Masters degree is in Reading with emphasis on Learning Disabilities.

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