D.W. Cummings

Written by CK-12 Foundation on February 14, 2009
D.W. Cummings
Don Cummings received his Ph.D. in English in 1965 from the University of Washington. He taught English at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington from 1960 until 1996, when he retired as Professor Emeritus of English. For about twenty-five years he directed and was the principal instructor in Central’s Academic Skills Center, where college students were taught developmental writing, spelling, reading, and mathematics. He also served for seven years as chairman of the English Department and later as Dean of the College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences. In 1970 he started writing The Basic Speller, an inductive approach to English spelling for younger students, working with third and fourth graders in the Seattle area. In 1988 the Johns Hopkins University Press published his monograph American English Spelling. In 2003 he established dwcummings.com, a website for spellers, teachers of spelling and reading, and other students of English words. For the last thirty-five years his primary scholarly interest has been English spelling – its system and logic, its history, and how best to teach it to younger and older students. After several decades of frustration with conventional publishers, so reluctant to deal with new approaches that cannot promise a fat bottom line, he’s very interested in and enthusiastic about open-access and collaborative publishing.