Inveterate gnashnab & snoutband
Indeed!Interesting. Imo, there is a lot going on with language influences. TV, movies, computer technology, family and other social input all influence language, both written and spoken. I am someone who has a tendency to absorb accents. Put me with some foreigners for a week and my pronunciation begins to change.
I think you are right about the reading thing. I also think the foundation development is contributory. A child that is encouraged to read and develop a strong healthy relationship with words is, imo, more likely to be a good speller than a kid who isn't comfortable with words/reading. I also think there is a component of natural aptitude. I've known some super smart people, who love to read but can't spell to save themselves. Language is fascinating stuff, imo.
I was very lucky, I inherited a whole cupboard with many shelves stuffed full of books belonging to my older brother when I was young, and I developed a love for reading from those. Æsop's Fables, Tom Brown's Schooldays, Treasure Island, Gulliver's Travels, The Prisoner of Zenda, The Water Babies, The Jungle Book ... oh, the list goes on and on.
Oh, by the way, in an earlier post you said "I remember back in the late 1700's". Were you serious?