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Computerized Machine Shorthand for Beginning Students

The Moody Method Theory

General Overview:  The Moody Method: Computerized Machine Shorthand for Beginning Students basic concepts are not new or unique, but they are based on the fundamental machine shorthand theory developed by Ward Stone Ireland in the late 1800s and the ever-evolving machine shorthand principles of writing from the ‘70s and ‘80s when students were able to finish court reporting school in two years or less.  The administrators and teaching staff at the College of Court Reporting have attended seminars and conducted in-service meetings to develop easily learned, logical theory principles. These principles incorporate the latest technology and artificial intelligence for court reporting, broadcast captioning, and CART reporting.  The Moody Method is not only a theory but also a method of learning machine shorthand and developing the skill and proficiency to quickly learn how to write rapidly with a high degree of accuracy while incorporating all aspects of CAT software. 


Court reporting students are adult learners, and the Moody Method textbooks are developed specifically for them.  Adult learners have the following characteristics:

  1. Adult learners want their lessons to be autonomous.  They need to have lessons that they can work on independently as well as in a structured classroom environment.
  2. They want every lesson to be relevant.  They must readily see the logic behind all principles of writing as well as the individual components of each lesson.
  3. They are organized learners.  Every lesson must be well structured so the adult learner can easily understand each objective of each new principle. 
  4. Adult learners have years of experience and knowledge that their younger counterparts may lack. Adults must apply what they already know to new machine shorthand concepts and principles of writing.
  5. Adult learners are practical, and they will focus primarily on what they think is necessary or important.
  6. Adult learners need continuous support and encouragement; therefore, review and positive reinforcement are paramount.


The book for beginning students contains 69 lessons. Students enrolled in a semester program have approximately 15 weeks of class each semester; therefore, students will take approximately 5 lessons a week or one lesson each day.  By the end of the 12 to 15 weeks, students learn every sound and can phonetically write any word they hear at a speed of 60 to 80 words per minute.


LESSON FORMAT:  New material is gradually presented throughout this textbook along with review lessons.  Students must master each concept before they move on to the next lesson as each lesson contains material from previous lessons. To minimize frustration, lessons are balanced so more difficult material is disbursed throughout the textbook and intermingled with easier material.  All lessons begin with finger exercises and a warm-up.  Except for the review lessons, all lessons contain the following:

  1. Drills for numbers, alphabets, finger exercises;
  2. New keystrokes, principles of writing, or new steno rules;
  3. Keyboard drills and practice,
  4. Outlines for brief forms and phrases,
  5. Word lists illustrating the new rule and reinforcing previously learned rules,
  6. Preview words for all sentences,
  7. Sentences for straight-copy practice and dictation containing all the new material and reviewing previous material.


DAILY STUDY PLAN:  To effectively master machine shorthand theory, students should study and write on their machine a minimum of five days a week.  The amount of time each day depends on the student, but students will be highly proficient and can complete the program in two years or less if they allow four hours a day for each lesson.  The following daily study plan for lessons containing new material is recommended:

  1. Students should read through the lesson.
  2. Students should visualize and memorize the new keystrokes that are introduced in the lesson.
  3. Students should practice writing the new strokes on their steno machines and check their steno strokes to see if they wrote them correctly. 
  4. Students should write each section at least five times before going on to the next section.
  5. The teacher should go over all aspects of the lesson in class.
  6. When students go through the preview words, they should read each word as well as the correct steno outlines.
  7. Students are encouraged to think of the relevance or logic of the rules for writing the words to help in memorizing the outlines.
  8. Students write the words on their shorthand machines. 
  9. Students are told to always read and correct their notes before going on to another part of the lesson.


REVIEW LESSONS:  The fifth and tenth lessons are review lessons.  They summarize and reinforce the new material presented in the previous four lessons.  Review lessons not only emphasize material from the previous four lessons, but they continue to reinforce material from the beginning of the textbook.


READING SHORTHAND NOTES:  An essential element of developing speed, skill, and accuracy in machine shorthand is having students read and correct their shorthand notes.  It is important that they read the paper notes printed by their shorthand machine instead of the shorthand on their computer screens.  When reading and correcting shorthand notes for the first time, they should use a red pen and quickly mark all errors.  They are encouraged to practice reading their corrected notes more than once.  If they frequently misstroke a particular outline, they should mark it every time.  Reading the paper notes from their machine and using a red pen programs their subconscious to subsequently write the correct steno outlines.  This reinforcement is crucial for adult learners.


If they occasionally read notes from their computer screen, students should set the CAT software so the steno comes up in the “Read Notes” or “Vertical Notes” format. 


STENO CONFLICTS IN SHORTHAND OUTLINES:  Some shorthand outlines could translate homophones as more than one word.  CAT systems contain a conflict database that is a compilation of steno conflicts that will be resolved by the software’s artificial intelligence capabilities.  The first few times a conflict is resolved, the software stores the selections.  Eventually it automatically selects the correct word when used again in the same context as it was when it was resolved.  The Moody Method theory incorporates the artificial intelligence capabilities of CAT software.


STRAIGHT-COPY PRACTICE:  Straight-copy practice or text-based copy is valuable for adults when developing skill in machine shorthand especially for “visual” learners.  The Moody Method for Machine Shorthand textbooks emphasize straight-copy practice in learning and progressing in machine shorthand.  Straight-copy practice occurs when students write on their shorthand machine while looking at a printed page.  It gives them the ability to focus on getting correct outlines, making corrections on misstrokes, and writing all the punctuation.  Students should write all sections of each lesson from the textbook before the teacher goes over the lessons in class. 


BRIEF FORMS, CONTRACTIONS, AND WORD FAMILIES:  Most words are written phonetically, by sound and by what one hears, and they may resemble English (especially with certain vowel sounds).  Brief outlines for words are introduced in most lessons.  These are words that are written a specific way and not necessarily phonetically.  Outlines have been developed to prevent conflicts or shortened to increase the ability to write faster.  Silent letters are often dropped in brief forms, and many outlines use text messaging concepts or commonly abbreviated words and phrases.  Contractions and groups of words called “word families” are also taught.  All contractions are written in one stroke.  These special outlines are systematically introduced throughout the text are logical and easily learned.


PREVIEW WORDS AND SENTENCES:  All lessons contain sentences using the new outlines and principles of writing presented in the lesson.  The teacher begins speedbuilding on these sentences within the first few days so students immediately get used to speedbuilding.  As a result, all students get accustomed to writing 60 to 80 words a minute.


This theory is not a revision of any previous theory, but the theory principles were developed through the collaboration of numerous court reporters and educators affiliated with the College of Court Reporting. 


Mary Joy Boby, A.A.S.:  Ms. Boby graduated from the College of Court Reporting with a degree in court reporting and worked as a court reporter and transcriptionist using realtime machine shorthand technology for rapid text entry.  She attended many realtime seminars, in-service trainings, and continuing education meetings.  In addition to working with the technology on a daily basis, Ms. Boby taught theory at CCR.


Stacy Drohosky, A.A.S., CRI, RPR, CRR:  Ms. Drohosky graduated from the College of Court Reporting and worked in television captioning and freelance reporting and is currently a Federal Court Reporter for the U. S. District Court in the Northern District of Indiana.  She is the past president and treasurer of the Indiana Shorthand Reporters Association and has CSRs in both Illinois and Indiana.  Ms. Drohosky was an administrator at CCR and is presently on the teaching staff and advisory board.  She co-authored the textbook on transcript preparation.  She has attended numerous seminars on broadcast captioning, CART, and realtime reporting.


Jeffrey T. Moody, B.S., CRI:  Mr. Moody is President of CCR and graduated with a bachelors degree from Indiana University.  He took the CLVS course from NCRA, and owned and operated a legal video company.  He owns and operates ev360, LLC, a custom coursesite learning management system developed for court reporting education.  He is the leader in court reporting technology and online education.  He also served as a certified trainer for many various software vendors.  He developed CCR’s educational program and software for online instruction.  Mr. Moody was awarded the CASE Outstanding Educator Award in 2006, served on the National Court Reporters Association’s Member Value Proposition committee, and is chairperson of NCRA's Council on Approved Student Education (CASE).


Kay Moody, M.S.E., B.S., CRI, MCRI, CPE:  Ms. Moody is Director of Education at CCR.  She extensively researched teaching theory and the development of  machine shorthand skill and speed and published many of her findings in her master’s thesis, articles in CASElines, and the Journal of Court Reporting.  As the result of her research and involvement on educational committees, she is designated as a Master Certified Reporting Instructor, and she received the CASE Award for Outstanding Educator.  She developed The Moody Method for Machine Shorthand speedbuilding series and published five textbooks using these principles of machine shorthand skill development and speedbuilding.


Tim Moody, B.A.:  Mr. Moody graduated with a B.A. from Indiana University.  He has more than 16 years experience as a consultant specializing in computer software and technology solutions for both print and Internet media.  He has conducted numerous training sessions related to Microsoft-. Adobe-, and Macromedia-based applications.  He completed CCR’s theory and beginning speedbuilding classes while teaching technology courses online for CCR.  Mr. Moody developed the CAT software and CAT dictionary for Moody Method textbooks and developed and wrote the Write it Right Workbook for conflict resolution.


Lisa Morton, A.G.S., CRI:  Ms. Morton earned her A.G.S. degree from Indiana University.  She attended CCR for theory and speedbuilding classes and Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.  Ms. Morton taught at a parochial school before attending CCR.  She has attended many state and national conventions and realtime in-service seminars.  She is a speedbuilding teacher and administrator at CCR.


Jami Naughgle, CSR (IL), CRI:   Ms. Naughgle graduated from Chicago College of Commerce and passed 240 words a minute while still in school.  She has taught theory at CCR for 20 years and also teaches beginning speedbuilding classes.  She assisted in editing and developing many of the instructional materials for this course.  She has attended many state and national conventions and realtime in-service seminars.


Janet Noel, A.A.S., CSR, CRI, CPE:  Ms. Noel is CCR’s Faculty Development Coordinator.  Ms. Noel graduated from MacCormac College in Chicago, has the Illinois CSR, and worked as both a freelance and official court reporter.  She co-authored the textbook on transcript preparation.  Ms. Noel has attended many seminars and workshops on teaching machine shorthand theory and court reporting as well as the latest developments in technology and realtime reporting.  She received the CASE Awards for Outstanding Educator in 2009.  She has conducted numerous in-service seminars and teaches at CCR.  Ms. Noel is a licensed school evaluator for NCRA.


Nicole Rodriquez, M.A., B.A.:  Ms. Rodriquez received both her undergraduate and master’s degrees from Valparaiso University.  She taught at Valparaiso and Davenport Universities.  She has attended numerous national and state court reporting conventions and seminars.  In addition to teaching online at CCR, Ms. Rodriquez is an administrator and CCR’s Director of Admissions.


Katie Vettickal, B.S., CRI:  Ms. Vettickal was formerly an elementary school teacher in Washington D.C. and Raleigh, North Carolina, before learning machine shorthand at CCR.  She was instrumental in developing the Moody Method theory and Beta testing it with her students.  She presently teaches theory online and onsite at CCR.  She developed a theory curriculum for high school students and teaches machine shorthand at Hobart High School in Hobart, Indiana.  She developed the instructional materials for the course using this textbook.  She has attended numerous seminars regarding realtime theory principles and teaching theory online.


Jay Vettickal, B.G.S., CRI:  Mr. Vettickal is the Executive Director of CCR.  He majored in foreign affairs and economics at the University of Virginia and enrolled in graduate studies at Indiana University.  He has attended many seminars relating to Broadcast Captioning and CART reporting.  He was CCR’s representative to the Legislative Boot Camp in Washington, DC, and has met with U.S. Senators Lugar and Bayh regarding federal funding for court reporting schools.  He works extensively with curriculum development at CCR.


CCR Students:  As the theory evolved, student input, recommendations, and simplified steno outlines were adopted whenever possible.  As a result, this is a student-friendly method of learning machine shorthand theory.  The purpose of writing this textbook was to simplify learning machine shorthand; and with their input, this goal has been accomplished.


Support Material for Students:

The following support material is contained at the end of the theory textbook:

  1. A comprehensive set of sentences relating to each group of five lessons,
  2. Comprehensive charts containing words using every prefix and suffix,
  3. Comprehensive list of contractions,
  4. State abbreviations,
  5. Comprehensive list containing all brief forms, contractions, and word families.


Our Moody Method CAT software for Eclipse and CaseCatalyst contains approximately 30,000 entries.  Every word and sentence from the textbook has been written using CAT software so it will correctly translate.



Students and Teachers with Other Theories:

Many students from other schools have transferred to CCR and find the Moody Method theory highly compatible with their original theory.  Students at all levels are able to integrate concepts from both theories and develop their form of writing what is natural or logical to them.  All theory and speedbuilding teachers at CCR previously taught at least one other theory (many have learned four or five other theories), and they also find the transition is easily made due to the fact that the Moody Method theory is logical and easily learned.


Supplemental Material for Students:

The Moody Method Computerized Machine Shorthand for Beginning Students, Book II. This text is a continuation of Book I and is to be used during the second semester of study.  This book reviews and reinforces all theory learned in the first book and contains rules for resolving conflicts that are not resolved by CAT software.  It contains advanced rules of writing:  stitching, finger spelling, additional punctuation and number rules.  It emphasizes the 1,000 most common words, briefs, phrases, homophones, and words that sound alike.  The book contains 30 lessons and students are encouraged to master two lessons each week of the semester.


The Moody Method To Machine Speed Development, Books I, II, III, and IV.  These books are for beginning speedbuilding students (60 to 80 words per minutes, 100 to 120 wpm; 140 to 160 wpm; 180 to 225 wpm).  Each book contains 15 lessons and students should master one lesson per week.  All the lessons in each textbook contain comprehensive drills which include every machine shorthand rule of writing numbers, letters, and basic theory rules. Each book emphasizes time management, reading back shorthand notes, straight-copy practice, preview words for each selection, review and new brief forms, and review of homophones. Each lesson contains five-minute selections of literary, jury charge, two-voice testimony, and a daily take at 20 to 40 words a minute over their goal speed.  All speedbuilding books are organized so they are compatible with other machine shorthand theories.  The following additional information is contained in each of the fifteen lessons.


  1. Book I, 343 pages.  This beginning speedbuilding book thoroughly reviews all Moody Method theory rules.  It teaches the correct formatting of both testimony and jury charge.  It introduces new briefs in each lesson, advanced number rules such as social security numbers, times, fractions, roman numerals, decimals, etc.  Each lesson contains one-word, two-word drills and phrases.  At the completion of this book, students should be able to accurately write dense material at a speed of 80 to 100 words a minute for five minutes.
  2. Book II, 362 pages.  This speedbuilding books continues to review theory, briefs and phrases, conflicts and words that sounds alike.  It introduces colloquy and multi-voice dictation, and each lesson contains a section on weather.  In addition to developing machine shorthand speed and skill, this textbook emphasizes basic punctuation rules from Morsons’s English Guide for Court Reporters.  Upon completion of this book, students should be able to accurately write dense material at a speed of 120 to 140 words a minute for five minutes.
  3. Book III, 363 pages.  In addition to the material contained in the previous books, each lesson in this intermediate speedbuilding book contains a section on colloquy, sports, phrases, and briefs.  At the completion of this book, students should be able to accurately write dense material at 160 to 180 words a minute.
  4. Book IV, 445 pages.  This advanced book introduces question and answer extensions with testimony reinforcing and emphasizing the extensions.  There is a selection in each lesson regarding foreign cities emphasizing foreign words and names.  Throughout this book, students should be working on five-minute takes at a minimum of 200 to 240 words a minute.


The Moody Method to Machine Shorthand Phrase Workbook.  This workbook contains 15 lessons whereby students learn to develop phrases based on the Moody Method theory.  Material is presented in a grouping format so phrases are gradually and systematically learned.  All phrases are logical and do not create conflicts with other steno outlines.


Write it Right Workbook.  This workbook contains 15 lessons with rules for eliminating all potential conflicts in machine shorthand.  Each lesson has two exercises and two sections of conflicts with sentences and drills designed to help students learn, review, and reinforce all the conflict resolution rules.  Material is presented in a grouping format so conflict-resolution rules are logical, and gradually and systematically learned.





Support Material for Educators:

Steno Drills 101                                                                 


Judicial Transcript Preparation for Court Reporters                       


Ev360:  Audio and text practice resources are available using the ev360 Skill Development and ev360 Infinity software applications.  These applications are available only to students who are enrolled at the College of Court Reporting.





Instructor, Katie Vettickal CRI

The Moody Method is a theory written by educators for students to progress through school quickly.  The Moody Method is a simple and logical theory that incorporates speedbuilding during the first couple weeks of a students’ first semester.

            When The Moody Method was developed, the educators only had the students’ best interests in mind.  They made the rules of writing easy to understand –  rules that don’t require hours of analyzing and memorizing!

            By the end of Theory 1, students learn how to write every English word with a strong foundation of the basic theory.  During their second semester, conflict resolution is introduced.  Since students do not have to resolve conflict in Theory 1 and are able to focus only on learning the basic theory; therefore, it is easy for them to make minor changes to groups of words with conflict.

            Since I have taught The Moody Method, my students enter their first semester of speedbuilding writing on an average of 80 words per minute.  This is 20-40 words per minute faster than they were writing with the theory CCR taught before developing the Moody Method.


Instructor, Alice Skoro CRI

The Moody Method Theory provides students with an incredible tool.  Presented in a systematic fashion, each lesson incorporates review, drills, proper names, briefs, and speedbuilding along with the introduction of new concepts.  After 15 weeks, our students know how to write any English word.  Conflict resolution and beginning speedbuilding can then begin with their second semester. 

            Students are not burdened by intense analysis of each word.  Instead, they can learn to write with minimal hesitation to facilitate speedbuilding.  Successful students equal successful reporters!


Instructor, Jami Naughgle CRI

The Moody Method Theory was developed by experienced educators who are true pioneers in court reporting education.  The theory concepts are logical, and the textbooks are set up for ease in learning and retaining the material.  

            The Moody Method Theory also incorporates the latest technology that uses artificial intelligence.  After just the first semester, the students leave theory knowing how to write literary, jury charge, and two-voice testimony.  The students have a strong writing vocabulary and a solid foundation for building speed.