Which Simplified books have answer keys? How would one learn without them?

I have received 4 of my Simplified books:

Simplified (1955) currently sold by McGraw Hill
Simplifed College Vol 1 – 2nd edition
Simplified College Vol 2 – 2nd edition
Simplified Functional Method – 1st edition

The only book that has an answer key is Functional Method.

How would one learn from the other books if one is learning without a teacher?   Are Teacher’s Manuals readily available?  Do the Teacher’s Manuals have all of the answer keys in them?  Would one have to find a Teacher’s Manual that matches the edition of the book (i.e. 1st or 2nd edition) because the reading material is different in the different editions?

How about all of the other Simplified books:  Graded Drills, Speed Building, etc.   Do they contain answer keys?  Or are the answers only in a Teacher’s Manual somewhere?

I have houseguests at the moment, so I haven’t had time to do an extensive search for Teacher’s Manuals yet.

If there are no answer keys available for Simplified or Simplified College, then it would seem that my decision is made for me – it will have to be Functional Method.

Help…….. 🙂



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21 comments Add yours
  1. The only books with a partial answer key included are the Functional Method books. That's why I recommended to study from the FM book since you don't have a teacher. The other books have answer keys, but they are separate pamphlets. Sometimes they appear online for sale, but you can also get them through your local library by interlibrary loan, as some libraries carry them (and make a copy). Check worldcat.org.

  2. Hi Susan,

    You don't need an answer key. Each chapter gives theory, then passages that use only that theory.

    It's normal to stumble over some of the words when learning to read shorthand. Here are a few tricks:

    – Give it time. Read the entire sentence, or even the entire chapter, and go back to it. Usually the context will help.

    – Break it down. Create a column for each part (letter) of the outline, and in each column write all the possibilities. (E.g., SH can also be -SHUN). See if something clicks.

    (As I read each chapter, I make a table: Gregg letter, English symbol, Gregg meaning (sounds, syllables, suffixes, prefixes, brief forms, other). I've recopied it a few times as they add more and more meanings to each letter. It's a good exercise.)

    – Mumble. That helps break incorrect interpretation of some of the bits.

    – If you can't read it on the second day in the lesson, ask the group. (Usually, though, you'll open the book and wonder why what the problem was.)

    There are several other posts explaining how to learn. Books vary on how often to increase the target speed. Most start around 40wpm, and none are more than 80wpm before finishing the theory. They agree on mastering each chapter before moving on, reading your old and older work frequently, taking the time to read each plate fluently before copying it, and proof-reading your work. Don't create your own material until you know the theory extremely well.

    Hope this helps!

  3. Thanks Carlos and Cricket !! I don't know what I would do without this blog. It's all so confusing for a beginner… so many versions of Gregg Shorthand, so many books, so many editions 🙂

    When my houseguests leave Thursday morning, I shall start with the 1st lesson in Simplified Functional – 1st edition.

    I am ready and eager….

    Please confirm – that for the first 20 or so lessons in Functional Method, the only thing that I do is read. No writing at all.

    Is that correct?

    Any thoughts on a procedure to follow for each lesson? How many times to read the material? How much time each day is good for practice? Enough to make progress, but not so much as to overdo it….

    All thoughts, opinions, advice are most gratefully accepted. I want to do this in an efficient manner so as to make good progress without rushing it. Slow and steady wins the race and I believe that applies to this endeavor.

    Is there anything else that I should be doing simultaneously? Other books to be reading from?

    I have the Most Used Words and Phrases Simplified book arriving tomorrow or Tuesday. Should I wait to look at that?

    I am going to order Gregg Speed Building for Colleges Simplified shortly and the Gregg Simplified Dictionary.

    I can not find a reasonably priced Graded Drills in GS Simplified by Klein so I will try to get that through the library.

    1. Mastery before speed: do not advance to the next lesson until you are able to read the current lesson as if reading a book. As to how much time to study, shorthand classes used to meet 5 times a week for about 1 hour. I recommend doing the same for learners, because it is with constant exposure to the outlines that one improves reading and gets better with the system. If you do that, you'll be fine. And yes, with the FM, no writing until Assignment 21. For extra practice, you can use the other two books. Since you won't have a key for those, you will be able to test yourself how much you have learned.

      It is too soon to order the speed building book. You still would need to complete the dictation book (vol 2 of the college series) before starting it. FYI, I like the first edition of the simplified college speed building book more than the second edition, because it has much more speech material, but both college editions are fine.

  4. As always, Carlos, very helpful. Thank you.

    I am keeping an eye out for reasonably priced copies of the various Simplified books so I can grab them when I see a good deal — even if I'm not ready for them yet.

    Based on what you just said, I went to Amazon and grabbed a copy of the 1st edition of Speed Building for Colleges – Simplified for $6 that sounds like it is in excellent shape. I'll put that aside until I am ready for it.

    1 hour per day / 5x per week will be my goal. Thank you.

    Do you also prefer the 1st edition of Simplified i.e. the 'basic" Simplified Manual? I thought I read that in an older post while I was browsing the older posts……

    1. About the first vs second editions, the first edition of the regular manual (not the FM that you have) explains the use of additional marks to distinguish between vowel sounds of the same letter — that's where my preference comes from. This aspect was left out of the FM manual, as well as of the first editions of the college books, and of all second editions of the Simplified manual. However, not presenting vowel marking is not a big deal because it is seldom used. You can always learn the vowel marks by checking out the Anniversary alphabet chart. Don't worry about it for now.

  5. Exactly, do not move on until you're completely competent with the material and theory that was explained in that assignment.

    Follow Carlos' advice and you can't go wrong. He's helped and explained so much to me in my study of Simplified.

  6. Paul, you said in another post that you use both the 1st and 2nd editions of the Simplified Functional Method books.

    Would you kindly please explain again how you do that?

    I remember you said that each has slightly different reading material and the shorthand was written by different people. Mr. Zoubek in one, Mr. Rader (sp?) in the other.

    I now own both editions and it intrigued me that looking at the same information written by 2 different individuals would be beneficial.

  7. Sure. When I begin a new assignment I first read the theory in the 2nd edition of the Functional Manual because it explains the theory being presented whereas in the 1st edition it just simply says "this stroke is used for xyz" without any further explanation. That is because back in the day you would have had a teacher in the front of the class explaining it to you in more detailed fashion.

    The 1st edition FM also contains more reading material to read also, which is great to have. Zoubek and Rader's shorthand (to me at least) are different. I somehow just find that Zoubek's writing is easier to read – maybe it has to do with his proportions – not really sure LOL.

    So in summary I personally like to read the new theory from my 2nd edition manual first and then flip over to my 1st edition manual to do my reading & writing exercises.

    It could be helpful to have more exposure to other people's shorthand, but the most important thing is to be able to read YOUR shorthand because ultimately it will be your shorthand that you will need to transcribe.

  8. I tackled Simplified by working my way entirely through the Functional Manual, before I ever started copying. In fact I began my copying practice with Gregg Simplified for Colleges I and find that I have no trouble with it because I can already read the complete Simplified system.

  9. Thank you Paul and C.

    Good plans. I expect the 2nd edition of Simplified Functional to arrive this week. I was surprised when looking at the 1st edition to see no explanations of how to proceed, but, of course, you are right Paul. The books were designed to be used in a classroom… with a teacher.

  10. Once you start writing (whether from lesson 1 or 20), a typical lesson plan is:

    Review previous lesson. Read your previous writing, at least one copy of each passage, until fluent. (Make note of problems and learn them properly.)

    Read each new word list until you're fluent, then copy each list until you're comfortable. (I've seen both 5x and "several lines of each word".)

    Update your theory notes. (I keep a summary chart showing all the uses of each letter. The format changed as I learned more theory.)

    Read each passage until you're fluent and then copy it until you're at your target speed. Do not try a passage without reading it first, until you've mastered the theory, I think after the 2nd book. You'll probably reinforce incorrect words. (This rule is also incentive to keep going!)

    Books vary as to how fast and when to build speed. My Teeline text say to stay at 40 for all the theory, then build speed. My Forkner text says to reach 60 in the first lesson, then 80 fairly soon and stay there for the rest of the theory. Still others say to build gradually to about 65 by the end of the theory.

    40 is fast enough that you're writing, not drawing. You can reach 40 or even 60 by copying the plates.
    It's easier to build speed once you have good penmanship than to fix your penmanship after you build speed.

    When speed building, your target speed should be 10wpm faster than your comfortable speed.

    You can't reach high speeds in the early chapters. They have one letter per sound. Late chapters are more efficient. Some passages are easier than others. The brief form letters are a breeze!

    When starting a new speed, start with a 1 minute passage, then build up to 5 minutes, then repeat for the next speed.

    If you hit a speed block (and once you're ready to crank up the speed), try Swem's method. Take dictation at 10wpm faster than target, then again at 20wpm faster — and keep cranking the speed until your notes are "shattered". Get down something — anything — for each word. It stops hesitation and often shows areas you need to work on. When you're done, your target speed will seem slow.

    Your last take of each passage should be slow enough to be perfect. That's the one our body will remember most. Perfect includes fluid writing, without hesitation.

    If you're having trouble with an outline, write it with your finger about 6 inches high (in a tray of sand, or with a wet finger), then again on a wall with chalk about 12 or 18 inches high. Repeat with eyes closed to test. My son had occupational therapy for handwriting. Involving more muscles and textures and senses helps anchor the shape.

    Write each problem outline until you can do it perfectly, then write it a few dozen times. This is called overlearning, and really helps.

    I know it seems a waste of time to do one passage over and over and build vocabulary slowly, but it works. When kids learn to read, reading the same book over and over reinforces the vocabulary. Adding too many new words at once breaks the flow and comprehension. In shorthand, it leads to hesitation.

    Hope this helps!

  11. Cricket !!!

    Excellent advice. Thank you. I am copying all this great advice — from you and C and Paul and Carlos and others – to a Word document so that I will know how to study efficiently and effectively. Still have house guests for a few more days, but then I will be able to dive in !!

  12. Are there transcriptions for any of the other Simplified books, such as the Dictation and Advanced Dictation manuals? I've searched here but didn't come up with anything.

  13. By the time you're in the advanced books, you won't need the transcriptions. They preview words that might be a problem. Also, by then you will be very good at deciphering.

    1. I can read without much problem, but I've noticed once in a while I can't figure out a word or a turn of phrase (some of this definitely has to do with the old-fashioned business phrases or concepts that are used – like what the heck is "building paper"? 😀 ), so I wanted to look up the outline I couldn't decipher.

      One example, if you have the Advanced Dictation Simplified book, paragraph 48, the conclusion of the "Miracle" story ends with an outline I can't decipher, even in context. The sentence is "But either they go to bed or their parents must form other ???". Looks like "E-S-O-S-Sh". Maybe "exhaustion"? It's just a weird sentence.

      1. "But either they go to bed, or their parents must, from utter exhaustion."

        "Exhaustion" is correct, but "other" isn't. If you're reading oo hook-t-r as "other", you need to review your word endings! smiley

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