The Pitman Initial Teaching Alphabet (i.t.a.) was invented by Sir
James Pitman, grandson of the inventor of Pitman
shorthand. It was first used in a number of British schools in
1961 and soon spread to the USA and Australia.
It is designed to make it easier for English-speaking children
to learn to read English. The idea is that children first learn to read using
the i.t.a. then are introduced to standard English orthography at the age of
seven. Opinions vary on the efficacy of the i.t.a. and it never became a
mainstream teaching tool.
The main problems of using the i.t.a. include the fact that it is based on
Received Pronunciation, so people with other accents find it difficult to
decipher; the lack of written materials, and the transition to the traditional
orthography, which some children found difficult.
The i.t.a. consists of 42 letters, 24 standard lowercase Latin letters
plus a number of special letters, most of which are modified Latin letters.
Each letter represents to a single phoneme.
Some of the phonemes represented by digraphs in the traditional orthography
are represented by ligatures in the i.t.a.