Diane Frank


B.A., The Evergreen State College, 1998


Word Speller
Dyslexia Dictionary
Gabby's Word Speller


Contact via email

Biographical Note

Diane began reading when she was 3 years of age. The English language offered little challenge to her and came quite naturally. While attending colleges in Alaska, California, Texas and Washington she volunteered her time as a tutor of English to her peers. She initiated the SPARK program while working on a degree in Dallas, TX which supports new incoming college students who have learning challenges. During this same timeframe, she had her 8 year old daughter diagnosed to better understand the learning challenges she suddenly seemed to have developed once she was rooted into the public school system. The diagnosis revealed her daughter had dyslexia. Diane began researching dyslexia in 1993 happy to see that many of the cited studies were being conducted at the U of WA.

Unbeknownst to Diane in 1993 she would come to live in Olympia, WA and attend TESC by 1996. Although Diane had been attending colleges since 1981, she hadn't settled on a degree plan. This all changed in 1997. Her daughter had been enrolled in Special Education classes which were not adequate at the time to help her daughter's ability to keep words in her school work from moving around and walking off the page. Spelling was the area where all her challenges became exposed. One evening her daughter tearfully broke down and begged her mother to please write a dictionary which spelled words the way she spelled them (phonetically). Thirteen years later, with the help of valuable resources at TESC, the only print phonetic dictionary is now published and distributed to over 500 school districts in the U.S.


Publication Type


Latest Publication Title

American Wordspeller & Phonetic Dictionary

Additional Publications

Gabby's Wordspeller & Phonetic Dictionary was first published in 2008. It evolved into a 2nd edition in 2010. This resource tool was initially designed as a spelling aid for those with dyslexia.

American Wordspeller & Phonetic Dictionary, prior to publication, first became an App on Android, iPhone, iPad and iPod. This resource tool is an expansion of Gabby's Wordspeller & Phonetic Dictionary to include prefixes and suffixes all spelled out which may be associated with any root word.

American Wordspeller & Phonetic Dictionary ESL also became an App first on Android, iPhone, iPad, iPod. This resource tool is a revision of Gabby's Wordspeller & Phonetic Dictionary and includes phonetic spellings and sounds for Asian & Spanish languages. This ESL version allows anyone who speaks English as a Second Language to quickly find an American English word without knowing any spelling rules. For example, the English sound of 'j' would be represented by a Spanish speller as 'll' or 'y'. If they heard the word 'jog' they would automatically attempt to spell the word with their own Spanish letters which would spell out as 'llog' or 'yog'. So the ESL version of this phonetic dictionary offers each of these spellings to enable the user to locate the correct English spelling which is, of course, 'jog'.

Publication Excerpt

Now you can find your word by the way it sounds ~ A bridge between your spelling and a standard dictionary.

Gabby's Wordspeller & Phonetic Dictionary (named after Diane's daughter, Gabrielle) now has expanded versions available as American Wordspeller & Phonetic Dictionary and American Wordspeller & Phonetic Dictionary ESL.

These phonetic dictionaries are the first reference books of their kind and host 4 resource tools in 1:

1) Find your word phonetically within the first 2-3 letters.

2) Dictionary briefly describes the word

3) Cross-reference tool matches your word to any word which may sound or is spelled similar to your word. If you spell 'pedl' you will find relevant choices. Example: Is it 'petal' or 'pedal' or 'peddle'?

4) All prefixes and suffixes associated with your root word are spelled out for you. The word 'joy'. Example: Prefixes (en,over) Suffixes (ful, fully, fulness, yous, yously, yousness). Spelled out = enjoy, enjoys, enjoyed, enjoying, overjoyed, joyful, joyfully, joyfulness, joyous, joyously, joyousness. You may discover your root word has prefixes and suffixes unknown to you.

How did Evergreen help you in your career?

I maximized all available resources at TESC to accomplish America's only (and perhaps the world's only) print published English phonetic dictionary (specific to American English pronunciations) which allows you to locate your word phonetically (by the way it sounds). This enables anyone of any age who is still learning the English spelling rules to locate their word no matter how challenged the spelling is. Via resources at TESC (to include students and professors) this book has now become an App available on any smartphone. Though I graduated over a decade ago from TESC, I still maintain use of resources for further expansion/development of this working application for use on a standard PC.