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Research findings on spelling and its links with reading

 
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debbie



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2016 9:45 am    Post subject: Research findings on spelling and its links with reading Reply with quote

Many thanks to the amazing Dr Kerry Hempenstall who is remarkable at providing a summary of research findings for various aspects of teaching and learning 'literacy'.

On this occasion, the topic of the potential of 'dictations' of cumulative, decodable texts (that match the phonics code taught to date) has been raised via the DDOLL network and Kerry has responded, as usual, with a wealth of helpful and interesting summaries here:

http://www.nifdi.org/resources/news/hempenstall-blog/390-feel-like-a-spell

We are extremely fortunate in England that the approach entitled 'Systematic Synthetic Phonics' is promoted by Government and actually embodied in the National Curriculum for English for key stages 1 and 2 (for 5 to 11 year olds) - and that this approach includes teaching the English alphabetic code in all its complexities as a 'reversible' code - and therefore the phonics skills include not only 'blending' for reading, but also oral segmenting and allotting graphemes (letters or letter groups) for spelling:

[Note that 'dictation' is actually statutory in England's National Curriculum - see page 13]

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/335186/PRIMARY_national_curriculum_-_English_220714.pdf

Thus, England is on a historic journey in the field of literacy education - but not everyone fully appreciates the importance of this and there are numerous critics of the promotion of SSP - particularly as this includes the guidance against using multi-cueing reading strategies (when these amount to guessing words from word-shape, initial letter/s, picture and context clues).

I feel as if we have barely begun to take a close enough look at the consequence of this SSP promotion on 'spelling' as all the emphasis, currently, is on checking for phonics decoding by the end of Year One via the statutory Year One Phonics Screening Check (for which there are many critics evident in the national domain).

The International Foundation for Effective Reading Instruction committee members, however, are promoting world-wide use of England's Year One Phonic Screening Check because England, in effect, is providing the whole world (where the English language is formally taught) with an incredible 'baseline' (that is, a record of what children can achieve by the end of Year One with regards to decoding 40 words, and how this achievement can be raised year-on-year with more effective and mindful teaching):

http://www.iferi.org/resources-and-guidance/

Hopefully, there will eventually be greater interest in the effect of SSP on spelling.

Further, the programmes I'm associated with (Phonics International of which I'm the author, and Oxford Reading Tree Floppy's Phonics Sounds and Letters of which I'm the phonics consultant) are very much designed on the basis of teaching not only technical reading (with vocabulary enrichment and language comprehension using cumulative, decodable word banks and plain texts) but also spelling (oral segmenting and allotting graphemes, plus tricky words, and the building up of spelling word banks).

In effect, once learners can read, the programmes ARE spelling programmes - and 'self-dictations' and adult-led dictations for formal assessment are built into both the design of the resources and the guidance for use from the outset.

Someone on Twitter recently (at the time of posting this) has clearly been offended by a comment I made regarding teachers' phonics knowledge in England (I dared to suggest it may not be as good as people think) because systematic phonics has been promoted in England for several years now and there seems to be a tendency for people to think that it's 'job done'. Anyway, this person noted that my programmes are not exactly the same as the 'core criteria' as listed by the Department for Education - and yet these programmes passed muster to be included in the Government's phonics match-funded initiative (2011 - 2013).

This is true. Both programmes are totally systematic in their content, structure and organisation - but in addition I promote 'incidental' phonics teaching and the introduction of the overview of the English alphabetic code by the constant use of Alphabetic Code Charts from the outset (starting with the 4 to 5 year olds).

The rationale is 'two-pronged systematic AND incidental phonics teaching' and not just 'teach a simple code first and then extend to the complex code':

http://www.phonicsinternational.com/Debbie_RRF_Two_pronged_handout.pdf

My version of a 'simple code' includes more spelling and pronunciation alternatives than other SSP programmes - for example, when I introduce 'ai', I follow this immediately by introducing a spelling alternative 'ay'. When I introduce 'ea' as code for the sound /ee/, I follow this immediately by introducing 'ea' as code for /e/.

This means that I'm introducing the three complexities of the English alphabetic code from the outset, EXTRA teaching and over-learning of letter/s-sound correspondences - and avoiding an entirely 'invented spelling' approach throughout Reception (for which 'phonically plausible' spellings are accepted). This also supports the use of phonics for wider reading and writing in the wider curriculum (as recommended by Sir Jim Rose in his independent national review leading to the Rose Report, March 2006).

Free Alphabetic Code Charts here:

http://alphabeticcodecharts.com/free_charts.html

Further, I heavily promote the notion for the need for learners to be aware that for long-term spelling we simply have to remember which words are spelt which way and this involves, at least in part, the notion of 'building up spelling word banks' (not 'word families' based on onset and rime, but word banks which feature words with the same letter groups as code for the same sounds).

In other words, I'm passionate about good teaching for spelling - for the short term and the long term, and I think generally we have some way to go in teacher-education in this respect - and in programme-design and classroom practice - and research regarding developments in England not only for the two main processes of reading (word decoding/recognition and comprehension), but also for spelling.

See page 6 of this 'How to...' guidance where I list routine activities for the cumulative, decodable texts including 'self-dictation' and teacher-led 'dictation':

http://www.phonicsinternational.com/how2.pdf
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Debbie Hepplewhite


Last edited by debbie on Thu Apr 14, 2016 10:21 am; edited 6 times in total
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debbie



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2016 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Note these extracts about assessing spelling and spellcheckers by Dr Louisa Moats:

Quote:
There are three ways to assess spelling (Masterson & Apel, 2000): dictation (someone says a word out loud and the student spells it), connected writing (from text that the student writes), and recognition (when students are asked to select the correct spelling of a word from different choices). How one performs on one type of test may not indicate how well one might perform on another type of test. Moats (1994) noted that a good spelling test provides both descriptive and diagnostic information and, therefore, must include many items in order to adequately sample the different types of spelling knowledge an individual possesses.

However, according to Moats, most spelling assessments do not adequately sample spelling knowledge, with most spelling dictation tests including only 25-50 words (Masterson & Apel, 2000). Similarly, spelling tests that ask students to write connected text cannot cover the entire gamut of spelling patterns, thereby ensuring that all types of spelling knowledge are adequately sampled (p.159). … Perhaps it is impossible for one standardized test to cover the types of orthographic skills that are needed for good spelling. Thus, this study points to the possibility that similar to reading and mathematics, spelling cannot be adequately assessed with only one standardized test. For example, when a child is targeted for diagnostic reading tests, s/he is scheduled for multiple tests such as word recognition, decoding, and comprehension. Similarly, researchers and teachers should be aware that a singular standardized spelling test may not provide the range of items necessary to understand the specific spelling strengths and weaknesses of students across all orthographic patterns” (p.168)

Calhoon, M.B., Greenberg, D., & Hunter, C.V. (2010). A comparison of standardized spelling assessments: Do they measure similar orthographic qualities? Learning Disability Quarterly, 33(3), 159-170.


Quote:
“Spell Checkers usually catch just 30% to 80% of misspellings overall (Moats, 2005). Since the advent of word processing and spell checkers, some educators have argued that spelling instruction is unnecessary. It’s true that spell checkers work reasonably well for those of us who can spell reasonably well—but rudimentary spelling skills are insufficient to use a spell checker. Spell checkers do not catch all errors. Students who are very poor spellers do not produce the close approximations of target words necessary for the spell checker to suggest the right word. In fact, one study (Montgomery, Karlan, and Coutinho, 2001) reported that spell checkers usually catch just 30 to 80 percent of misspellings overall (partly because they miss errors like here vs. hear), and that spell checkers identified the target word from the misspellings of students with learning disabilities only 53 percent of the time”.

Moats, L.C. (2005/06 Winter). How spelling supports reading. American Educator, 12-43.

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debbie



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2016 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dr Kerry Hempenstall also provided this information via a Word doc so I've had to copy and paste:

Quote:
“A two-tier model for early intervention to prevent spelling disabilities is proposed. In the first tier alphabet principle is taught (along with other sound-spelling connections for words including syllable awareness) and applied to practice in spelling words singly and in text (teacher-directed dictation and child-generated composition).

In the second tier children are monitored in the year following early intervention and continuing tutoring is provided if necessary (p.117). …

Although there has been considerable research on early intervention to prevent reading disability (e.g., Foorman, Francis, Fletcher, Schatschneider, & Mehta, 1998; Torgesen, Wagner, & Rashotte, 1997; Vellutino, Scanlon, Sipay, Small, Pratt, Chen, & Denckla, 1996), there has been relatively little research on early intervention to prevent writing disability. This lack of research on early intervention for writing is problematic for three reasons. First, the degree to which transcription skills (handwriting and spelling) are developed is the best predictor of the amount and quality of written composition in the elementary grades (Graham, Berninger, Abbott, Abbott, & Whitaker, 1997).

Yet, current educational practice minimizes explicit instruction and practice of transcription skills (Graham, 1999), thus placing children who start out at the low end of the continuum for spelling and/or handwriting skill at an even greater risk for developing significant problems in written expression later in schooling (Berninger, 1999; Berninger & Swanson, 1994).

Second, although reading disability may be the most common form of learning disability early in schooling, many children overcome their reading disability only to struggle with persisting spelling problems. Little is known about how to prevent or remediate spelling disabilities compared to reading disabilities.

Third, some students have no difficulty in learning to read but their relatively poor spelling skills are masked or ignored until requirements for written assignments increase, usually in the upper-elementary grades. By then, it may be more difficult to overcome the spelling problems than it would have been had the student received early intervention to prevent this kind of transcription problem in the first place” (p.117).

Berninger, V. W., Vaughan, K., Abbott, R. D., Brooks, A., Begay, K., Curtin, G., Byrd, K., & Graham, S. (2000). Language-based spelling instruction: Teaching children to make multiple connections between spoken and written words. Learning Disability Quarterly, 23, 117-135.
________________________________________
“In summary, while many of the existing studies have documented the highly significant relationship of expressive spelling skills, i.e., dictation tasks, to word reading and reading comprehension, the relationship of receptive spelling, or spelling recognition, to reading fluency and comprehension has lacked sufficient investigation (Bourassa & Treiman, 2003; Bruck, 1988).

In particular, the role of receptive spelling knowledge has been understudied in the dyslexic population and in reading comprehension. In the present study, we attempt to build on the previous studies and expand our understanding of the relationship between orthographic knowledge, particularly spelling recognition, and reading skills in dyslexic readers and younger children” (p.850).

Katzir, T., Kim, Y.S., Wolf, M., Kennedy, B., Lovett, M., & Morris, R. (2006). The relationship of spelling recognition, RAN, and phonological awareness to reading skills in older poor readers and younger reading-matched controls. Reading and Writing 19(Cool, 845-872.
________________________________________
This study used a spelling to dictation test.

“The study aimed to compare the differential effectiveness of explicit and implicit instruction of two Dutch spelling rules. Students with and without spelling disabilities were instructed a spelling rule either implicitly or explicitly in two experiments. Effects were tested in a pretest-intervention-posttest control group design. Experiment 1 suggested that explicit instruction of a morphological spelling rule led to instance-based knowledge in students with spelling disabilities and to rule-based knowledge in students without. Implicit instruction led to instance-based knowledge in students with spelling disabilities, and in the group without spelling disabilities no learning at all occurred. Experiment 2 revealed that explicit and implicit instruction of an orthographical spelling rule were equally effective in both groups and that the spelling knowledge they had acquired was instance-based. Findings suggest that explicit instruction is more effective than implicit instruction for the teaching of spelling rules when generalization is aimed at.” (p.639)

Kemper, M.J., Verhoeven, L., & Bosman, A.M.T. (2012). Implicit and explicit instruction of spelling rules. Learning and Individual Differences, 22, 639–649.
________________________________________
“Recognition of oral spelling (e.g., stimulus “C-A-T”, response “cat”), also called naming from oral spelling and reverse spelling, has been used for decades in studies of acquired dyslexia and dysgraphia. However, the importance of impaired or spared performance is not entirely clear due to a lack of consensus about the cognitive underpinnings of the task.

Two hypotheses have been proposed. The first, which we refer to as ROS-read, states that recognition of oral spelling proceeds via, and provides information about, the central reading mechanisms. The second hypothesis, ROS-spell, posits that recognition of oral spelling requires and probes the central spelling mechanisms. …

In summary, we have articulated a version of ROS-spell that is faithful to the intentions of the hypothesis: Recognition of oral spelling uses reverse-spelling mechanisms (but not reading mechanisms), and recognition of oral spelling and spelling to dictation will be impaired in concert. Articulating the assumptions of the ROS-spell hypothesis (ROS = recognition of oral spelling) allows us to test its predictions empirically alongside the ROS-read hypothesis” (p.82).

Schubert, T., & Michael McCloskey, M. (2015). Recognition of oral spelling is diagnostic of the central reading processes. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 32(2), 80-88.
________________________________________
“There are three ways to assess spelling (Masterson & Apel, 2000): dictation (someone says a word out loud and the student spells it), connected writing (from text that the student writes), and recognition (when students are asked to select the correct spelling of a word from different choices).

How one performs on one type of test may not indicate how well one might perform on another type of test. Moats (1994) noted that a good spelling test provides both descriptive and diagnostic information and, therefore, must include many items in order to adequately sample the different types of spelling knowledge an individual possesses. However, according to Moats, most spelling assessments do not adequately sample spelling knowledge, with most spelling dictation tests including only 25-50 words (Masterson & Apel, 2000). Similarly, spelling tests that ask students to write connected text cannot cover the entire gamut of spelling patterns, thereby ensuring that all types of spelling knowledge are adequately sampled (p.159). … Perhaps it is impossible for one standardized test to cover the types of orthographic skills that are needed for good spelling. Thus, this study points to the possibility that similar to reading and mathematics, spelling cannot be adequately assessed with only one standardized test. For example, when a child is targeted for diagnostic reading tests, s/he is scheduled for multiple tests such as word recognition, decoding, and comprehension. Similarly, researchers and teachers should be aware that a singular standardized spelling test may not provide the range of items necessary to understand the specific spelling strengths and weaknesses of students across all orthographic patterns” (p.168)

Calhoon, M.B., Greenberg, D., & Hunter, C.V. (2010). A comparison of standardized spelling assessments: Do they measure similar orthographic qualities? Learning Disability Quarterly, 33(3), 159-170.
________________________________________
" … pseudo-word reading has been shown to be among the best predictors of spelling from dictation in primary grade children (Berninger, Yates, Cartwright, Rutberg, Remy, & Abbott, 1992).
________________________________________
“How can you tell whether someone has truly mastered a skill? What is the measurable indicator that a person really knows how to do something? These questions should be at the heart of every teaching decision, every observation of a child’s performance, and every evaluation we make about the success of an educational program.

Yet for many educators, and certainly for most parents, answers to these questions are anything but clear. Most of us have grown up in a “percentage correct world” where 100% correct is the best anyone can do. But is perfect accuracy the definition of mastery? Or is there another dimension that makes the difference? In fact, we see many children and adults who can perform skills and demonstrate knowledge accurately enough – given unlimited time to do so. But the real difference that we see in expert performers is that they behave fluently – both accurately and quickly, without hesitation.” (p.2)

“Here are some widely accepted estimates of fluent performance on a range of basic skills. All estimates are correct responses per minute, and presume zero or near - zero error frequencies. We have included grade - level aims for oral reading – ranges that represent good progress toward fluency for students of a given age – to reflect the fact that achieving fluency in some skills might require systematic progress over several years’ time, depending on development of oral, fine motor, or other component skills. In addition, we have followed the convention of listing the higher limit of each fluency range first to encourage both students and teachers practice beyond achieving the bare minimum of the fluency range.” (p. 9)

“Write words from dictation (hear/write) 15 – 10 words /min” (p.9)

See the other fluency ranges below:


Binder, C., Haughton, E., & Bateman, B. (2002). Fluency: Achieving true mastery in the learning process. Retrieved from http://www.fluency.org/Binder_Haughton_Bateman.pdf
________________________________________
Shaywitz (2004) used dictation as part of her intervention with L1 students.
For 8 months, poor readers provided with 50 minutes of daily, individual tutoring - explicit, systematic and focused on helping them understand the alphabetic principle

1) a review of sound– symbol associations (e.g., giving the name, sound, and key word for each letter, as in “a says /a/ as in apple”);
2) practice in phoneme analysis and blending by manipulating letter cards or scrabble tiles to make new words (e.g., changing sat to sap to sip to slip);
3. timed reading of previously learned words to develop fluency;
4. oral reading of stories; and
5. dictation of words with phonetically regular spelling-sound patterns (e.g., chap, spin).
In 5, children were encouraged to stretch out the word (say it slowly) before spelling it.

Outcomes

Greatly increased fluency, accuracy and comprehension at post-test and at 1 year later. The occipito-temporal region became active AND continued to develop 1-year after the intervention had ended

“The big news,” says Shaywitz, “is that science has come into education. It’s amazing that it has taken so long to do so”

Shaywitz et al. (2004). Development of left occipitotemporal systems. Biological Psychiatry, 55, 926–933.
________________________________________
See more stuff about spelling on my blog at http://www.nifdi.org/resources/news/hempenstall-blog/390-feel-like-a-spell

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