Book and Film Challenge Update


The Great Typo Hunt: Two Friends Changing the World, One Correction at a Time by Jeff Deck and Benjamin Herson is the 23rd book that I have finished in the challenge. This nonfiction book chronicles the adventures and misadventures of the authors as they travel around the country on a mission known as TEAL, the Typo Eradication Advancement League, which had as its mission to eradicate typos and errors from signs in public places. To this end, they assembled a Typo Eradication Kit, which consisted of Wite-Out, Sharpies, Chalk, Dry-Erase Markers, and a camera to document their before and after corrections. They started from Somerville, MA outside Boston, MA and traveled the perimeter of the country, with some stops in the mid-West, in search of typos and misspellings of words on signs in public places, mainly shops and stores on Main Street in towns and cities on their route. They often pointed out the errors to the person in charge and asked for permission to change the offending sign, but did perform some “stealth” changes. As they traveled on their journey, they discussed at length what it was they were really trying to do and this conversation helped them define what their journey was really all about. They kept a blog on the Internet as they went along and incurred a following of dedicated orthographically inclined people who were interested in their mission. They did get themselves into hot water, however, when they changed a sign at the Grand Canyon. The National Parks Service does not take kindly to people changing their signs, especially when it is a historic sign that is 70 years old and was hand-painted by a volunteer. They were subject to a lawsuit and fined and put on probation for a year; they had to take down their website and make no corrections for one year. After their probationary year was over, however, they had learned to never to “stealth” corrections again and they had also reached the conclusion that there needed to be an educational component to their work. They did some research into the education taking place in schools on spelling (double consonants and apostrophes had been a particular problem, as well as junctions: the coming together of a word with a prefix or a suffix). There is a chapter in the book devoted to a method called Direct Instruction (DI) that seems to be successful in teaching the rules of spelling and grammar to students. The book also has an appendix that explains the most basic errors that the League found on their travels and how to spot them and how to avoid them. The League plans to do another cross-country tour at some point, to educate and correct. One of their worst stops was an educational toy shop where the salesperson said, “I don’t care if it [the sign] is inaccurate; I care that it looks nice.” Twenty-three down, 77 to go.

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About mairedubhtx

I am a "youngish" grandmother of 15 year old twin granddaughter who has recently (is a year "recent"?) adopted Islam as my way of life, much to the consternation of my family. I love to read. I love to write. I am writing a book about my decision to revert, about my spiritual journey. I have another blog about stories from my youth, my parents, and grandparents. It's a blog so my OCD daughter will not be able to throw it out when I die. I suffer from depression and anxiety, for which I am treated, so my posts may be a bit dark at times. C'est la vie.
This entry was posted in Books and Films Challenge Update and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Book and Film Challenge Update

  1. The Hook says:

    What a cool concept for a book/blog!
    Great share!

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