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Did anyone do 'ita' in the 1970s?

(72 Posts)
MaudlinMews Thu 31-May-18 10:19:23

Yes, I know it was a long time ago but I was discussing this with friends last night (mainly five or more years older than me so they didn't do it).

When I started school in 1973 in the Midlands, we were taught to read using a system called ita (initial teaching alphabet). I could already read as my mother was very bookish but I remember taking a book home and my parents hitting the roof that I was being taught in this way. My mother complained to the school but we continued to be taught in this way and then later transitioned to standard alphabet.

I didn't have a problem making the transition to standard alphabet but I remember a few who did and I just wondered if anyone else did? It seems very odd looking back. I've attached the alphabet for anyone who's curious.

ReservoirDogs Thu 31-May-18 14:09:11

My sister was in the school year below me and she learnt this way but I hadn't (1972). I always wondered why bother because you'd have to relearn but she doesn't appear to have been held back by it.

Getabloominmoveon Thu 31-May-18 14:21:12

I remember it from the 60s in my school, probably 1967-68. I could already read when I went to school so I wasn't taught with this system, but I clearly remember picking up library books written in ita, and trying to work out what it said.
Interesting to see the alphabet again.
Apparently it was scrapped when kids found it difficult to transition to 'real' English.

MaudlinMews Thu 31-May-18 16:19:21

Yes, I think that's it - it seems strange to learn something only to have to relearn it. Why not do it properly even if it takes longer? Madness. I wonder how many of our generation were taught this way?

Zadocthepriest Thu 31-May-18 16:27:28

My mother taught it, but only for a very few years. I have some ITA Beatrix Potter books! If we had all swapped permanently, we wouldnt have any spelling or pronunciation issues.....But think of the years of chaos to get to that stage.

No wonder teachers are sometimes a bit disillusioned about new ideas!

TheCrowFromBelow Thu 31-May-18 16:31:21

They used it at the primary school I moved to when I was 7 but I could already read the usual alphabet so I didn’t learn it. All the reading cards had both alphabets on and the teacher used to write 2 lines on the board - ita was in green.

Moussemoose Thu 31-May-18 16:33:21

I was!

I am actually quite badly dyslexic and combined with ITA I didn't read properly until I was 8. It also meant my dyslexia was ignored and my issues blamed on ITA.

My inability to move from ITA to the normal alphabet was down to my laziness apparently.

We had sooooooo much fun in the 70sconfused

Babdoc Thu 31-May-18 16:33:25

I started school in 1960. I could already read, but the school used the ordinary alphabet in any case, and phonics, which I am delighted has made a bit of a comeback nowadays! I taught my own DDs to read at the age of 2 with phonics, and they were fluent by three. I remember a friend's slightly older kids had been denied phonics at school and were struggling with flashcards or some such nonsense, trying to memorise whole words with no idea of how to sound them out. They were stumped every time they met a new word.

Mmmmdanone Thu 31-May-18 16:39:17

I learned to read with ita. I don't remember having any problems but then neither have my kids who didn't learn this way. Might have been a waste of time!

Vietnammark Thu 31-May-18 17:45:36

Born in 1967, lived in Kent and did the ITA.

Janet and John books weren’t they? Utterly boring!!

Went to grammar school, but didn’t learn to read well until I was in my 30s.

ScreamingValenta Thu 31-May-18 17:47:31

I didn't, but I find this fascinating, so am place marking.

Battleax Thu 31-May-18 17:53:20

How odd. It’s hard to see how that was supposed to hang together as a theory.

MaudlinMews Thu 31-May-18 22:24:10

vietnammark yes, Janet & John, Enid Blyton and the Ladybird books I think.

It just seemed so odd to learn something strange and then learn a different alphabet again. Some classmates found it very confusing and I remember my mother being livid.

I wonder if anything like that would ever happen again?

Those who struggled to learn the real alphabet afterwards, how did it affect you in your day to day life? When did you feel you’d mastered the real alphabet?

NellieTheElephant1 Thu 31-May-18 22:27:15

Yes! Started school in 1977, my mother was also annoyed we were taught this way. Don't think it caused me any problems learning to read though.

Haffdonga Thu 31-May-18 22:38:06

Yes!
My mother is still resentful that all the parents were told very strictly that under no circumstances should they read with their dcs at home in case they confused them.

I've heard that research found that the children who learned quickly with ITA would have done so with the normal alphabet and those who struggled, struggled with both, so it was of no help at all. Madness.

MsMaestro Thu 31-May-18 22:43:57

I learnt ITA when I started school (in Scotland) around 1968.
My parents were shocked when they saw it!
I don’t remember any particular problem moving to the regular alphabet, which I think happened within a year or 2.

Kochkor Thu 31-May-18 22:45:34

I assess for dyslexia- I’ve recently assessed 2 different men in their 50s. Both went to schools who used ita and neither of them learnt to read until they went to adult education classes in their 20s which taught reading using more conventional methods. I think it is responsible for a lot of illiteracy amongst people in their 40s and 50s.

Haffdonga Thu 31-May-18 22:54:37

I remember it was a big deal at school when you got to move on to 'T.O.' (Traditional Orthography). Obviously as kids we realised that the cleverest kids went on to T.O. the quickest. It certainly wasn't an equaliser.

Slightlyperturbedowlagain Thu 31-May-18 23:03:15

It was a bonkers system, I was only saved from it because I could already read when I started school so after many many discussions between my mum and my teacher I was begrudgingly allowed to use the old Peter and Jane books that they hadn’t yet got round to throwing away. Some children never really got the hang of reading either ita or normal writing at all. In fact I’m pretty sure that a good 20% of the class could barely read when they left primary school, and despite it being meant to be a good school in its day no one seemed overly worried shock (it certainly puts primary school performance in our fairly mixed but generally hard-working local area into context!)

LarkDescending Thu 31-May-18 23:06:25

Yes! In South Africa, early 70s. I’ve never met anyone in the UK who has even heard of it.

Like others on the thread I arrived at school already able to read, so learning ITA was almost akin to learning a foreign language. I can still remember how aggrieved I felt when getting marked down for inadvertently writing something in proper English orthography rather than ITA. Even then I was aware at some level of the futility of the exercise.

drspouse Thu 31-May-18 23:10:24

We didn't have it at my school but that's my era and they had books using it in our local library. I found them fascinating!
Apparently (like many have said) children were quick to start but then got stuck, both due to transitioning but also to lack of books in ita meaning they couldn't read widely.

Rodders92 Thu 31-May-18 23:16:13

I moved from England to Wales at the end of the 60’s had learnt to read using standard alphabet, then given ita books in Wales, I remember reading Ita at school and standard alphabet at school for a year or so.

amazonianwoman Thu 31-May-18 23:22:09

I didn't but my younger sister did (born 1969). It was utterly ridiculous, I remember my sister took much longer to grasp proper reading, and she was (is) bright. Very frustrating for her and our parents.

dottyaboutstripes Thu 31-May-18 23:30:45

This was taught in my v small primary in W Wales (I was born in 69). I didn't have any issues at all and read well right from the beginning but looking back, it's truly bonkers!

Beamur Thu 31-May-18 23:33:47

I learnt it at school and remember how odd it was (started school 1975) but I could already read and write quite well, so I sort of learned it as a parallel language. I think some children learnt quickly with it but struggled to switch to normal English.

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