RSvP™ Step by Step students have a secret weapon they learn to use in analyzing unknown words. What is that secret weapon? It’s using diacritical marks on the 18 common and regular vowel sounds they learn in the program. Most teachers respond with disdain when I mention the words diacritical marks. But I remind them that every good dictionary uses these marks, and if students are to become proficient in pronouncing difficult words independently, they must learn to use the marks over the vowels, the accent marks, and the schwa sound to arrive at correct pronunciations of unknown words.
I simply cannot believe that teachers of reading have been given license to ignore this important skill when they teach reading. No wonder so many elementary students start falling behind by the time they reach the fourth grade and are met with an onslaught of multi-syllable words. I must add that I strongly feel that the publishers of dictionaries could place themselves in the forefront of the battle to eliminate illiteracy if they would work together to establish a uniform diacritical marking system that all elementary public school teachers would be required to teach their students.