Allison Ware


Another study published in 1914 was that of C. K. Studley and Allison Ware of the Chico, California, State Normal School. They prepared a list of 3470 words. The list is a compilation of the words found (1) in Dr. Leonard P. Ayres’ Spelling Vocabularies of Personal and Business Letters, (2) in the list prepared by Miss Effie McFadden and Dr. Frederick Burk of the San Francisco, California, State Normal School, and (3) in a list derived from 920 compositions written by the children of the Chico, California, District. The 920 compositions were selected at random from the city and rural schools of the district of Chico. In these compositions some 200,000 words were inspected and from a total number of 3459 different words a final list of 2088 was prepared. The 1371 words omitted from the final list were mostly different forms of the same word, proper nouns, and technical words.


Leonard P. Ayres in his Measuring Scale for Ability in Spelling, published by the Russell Sage Foundation in 1915, has a list of 1000 words which occur most frequently in the following four studies: (1) Vocabularies of Personal and Business Letters, by Leonard P. Ayres, (2) Cook and O’Shea’s study of personal letters, (3) Eldridge’s Six Thousand Common English Words, (4) The London Point System of Reading for the Blind, by Rev. J. Knowles. According to the author, ‘The list of 1000 words finally selected was determined upon by finding the frequency with which each word appeared in the tabulations of each study, weighing that frequency according to the size of the base of which it was a part, adding the four frequencies thus obtained, and finding their average.’

The extent to which words compiled from lists made by others are representative of words most commonly used depends, of course, on the representative value of the lists from which they are taken. With regard to the above study it should be borne in mind that two of the original studies from which this list was compiled were not studies of written correspondence.”

Reference Data:

University of Iowa Studies in Education, Vol. 2, by University of Iowa, 1921, pages 11-12

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