5 Free Research Reads On… Teaching Spelling

Debates about spelling never really go away. No matter what technological advancement is ushered in, it appears that spelling development still matters and we should sustain the teaching of spelling.

For young writers in particular, spelling is linked to writing, reading and vocabulary development. But teachers need support to understand the challenge and teach spelling with success. These freely accessible reads explore the importance of spelling and its vital place in the classroom.

  1. ‘Does Spelling Still Matter—and If So, How Should It Be Taught? Perspectives from Contemporary and Historical Research’, by Pan, Rickard and Bjork.

Does spelling still matter? Spell-checking simply hasn’t made spelling instruction obsolete. Spellcheck and autocorrect are not foolproof, but more importantly, reading, writing, and vocabulary development are all linked to the foundational skill of spelling. Spelling can prove a particular constraint of writing development and quality… SEE HERE.

2. ‘What should teachers know about spelling?’ by Misty Adoniou

What should teachers know about spelling? Quite a lot, it turns out. This article outlines that spelling is not an innate skill and it requires explicit instruction. It goes on to detail aspects of that crucial knowledge, from knowledge of phonology (the letter to sound correspondences) and morphology (word parts and word roots)… SEE HERE.

3. ‘Why Teach Spelling?’ by Deborah K. Reed

This is one of the most comprehensive explainers on ‘why‘ and ‘how‘ to teach spelling. It details spelling development and its relationship to reading and writing. It advocates integrating a range of approaches using phonemic, morphemic, and whole word approaches. It comes with a really handy checklist at the end too…SEE HERE.

4. ‘Capturing Variations in How Spelling is Taught in Primary School Classrooms in England’, by Esposito et al.

Is spelling being ‘taught’ or merely ‘caught’? Is the spelling test still king? This small survey of primary school teachers is accompanied by a very good explainer on the state of spelling instruction in England. Insights include formal spelling policies being rare, with a third of teachers not having professional development on spelling in the last five years. With some teachers gaining timely spelling development, is there a growing gap in classrooms when it comes to spelling ability? Read about spelling in primary…SEE HERE.

5. ‘Does spelling instruction make students better spellers, readers, and writers? A meta-analytic review’, by Graham & Santangelo

When you look at a vast array of research on spelling what does it show? Does it develop naturally with a test or two helping it along, or is systematic spelling instruction the difference maker? No surprise here: for all learners, systematic spelling instruction makes a positive difference…SEE HERE.

Related reading:

  • Spelling: Avoiding Ignorance and Negligence‘. I have blogged about some practical approaches to spelling HERE.
  • How to Teach Spelling Patterns‘. This TES article does what it says on the tin… HERE.
  • Closing the Writing Gap‘. My latest book tackles spelling development as part of the writing process…HERE (use the discount code GAP30 for 30% off!).

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