I got a copy of “Gregg Shorthand Structured Learning Method, Diamond Jubilee Series”, by Eleanor Skimin and Patsy McMurtrie. The book was published by McGraw-Hill in 1971, it is 216 pages long, and the shorthand (DJS) was written by Jerry Edelman.
The book is divided in 28 lessons, plus three additional reinforcing lessons that review the material of lessons 1-10, 1-15, and 16-20. The lessons follow the programmed style of learning, where each lesson is broken down into smaller sections, with constant repetition and reinforcement of the material learned. The theory is presented by using “programmed words”, that is, words that illustrate the principle.
The book has some interesting features:
1. Lesson 1 is a warm-up lesson entirely in type, stressing that shorthand is written by sound. No actual shorthand is presented.
2. Lesson 2 presents the complete Gregg alphabet, including punctuation, something that had not been done since the Anniversary days!
3. Lesson 3 shows how to connect consonants to circle vowels, by presenting the word and then breaking it down to the respective symbols. The text stresses following the “hear, say, spell, and write” plan as you write shorthand.
4. Each subsequent lesson presents the theory using selected programmed words. Some outlines of these words are even left blank so that the student will write them in the book itself by deducing them from the previous examples. Also, some parts of the book contain empty writing lines for the student to write on, with Gregg ruling. In some cases, the shorthand in the book is written on lines and in other sections it is presented without the lines.
5. The reinforcement lessons contain short stories, letters, and even a diary! In some sections, reinforcement sentences are presented with the programmed words, once in shorthand for the student to transcribe, and a similar sentence in type for the student to write in shorthand. For example, the student would read in shorthand “The revised schedule made it hard for the research group.”, but has to write in shorthand “The research group had to follow a revised schedule.” In that case, the two program phrases are “revised schedule” and “research group.”
6. List of brief forms and phrases contain a time limit as a reading goal. For example, by Lesson 14, the student is expected to read 19 brief forms and phrases in 28 seconds or less.
7. The lessons also contain speed goals for writing from dictation. For example, in that same Lesson 14, a student is supposed to write from dictation a 45-word paragraph in 45 seconds (60 wpm). By the end of the book, the student is supposed to be writing at 65 wpm.
8. Along with the index and the index of brief forms, the complete transcript is included at the end of the book (this is a big plus).
9. Although the preface of the book instructs the student to follow the teacher’s suggestions, I don’t see a reason why this book could not be used for self-instruction.
Overall, I like this book a lot, since it simplifies the presentation of the theory to the essentials and at the same time challenges the student by encouraging outline construction with their “blank line” examples. The only downside that I see is that in comparison to the regular manuals, the reading and writing material is less abundant (28 lessons vs. 70 lessons in the DJS manual), but that could be remedied by using the regular manual as a reference.