Weekly Digest #37: Teaching Spelling
NOTE: If you are reading this digest and are interested in using some of these resources in your classroom or with your children, please read the comment by Holly Shapiro, our reading expert. Stay tuned for more spelling resources in the near future!
In our most recent blog post, we answered questions we have received about cognitive psychology and education. One question we received recently was about spelling: Can the spelling inventory be given on the computer and still be valid? Ultimately, this question is getting at whether the spelling inventory is useful in developing fine motor skills or if the purpose is to identify sound/letter patterns.
None of us have expertise in teaching spelling, but we looked into resources that could be useful for those teaching spelling. What we found was a number of good resources explaining phonics and word study methods, and a research article looking at the effectiveness of spelling instruction via handwriting or typing. Based on these resources, it seems that the spelling instruction can be administered on the computer to improve reading and spelling. However, students will still need to work on their fine motor skills and practice writing, because learning to write is still important in itself (see this blog post for an example).
We welcome spelling research experts to add to this digest in the comments below!
1) How Children Learn to Spell by Louisa Moats
This resource provides a comprehensive overview of stages during spelling instruction, incorporating research along the way.
2) Phonics and Word Study by Sharon Vaughn and Sylvia Linan-Thompson
Another overview resource, this time covering a specific instructional technique: phonics and word study. The resource explains what the technique is, how to design instruction using phonics and word study, and even includes a guide with classroom activities for teachers. This resource also incorporates the research behind phonics and word study, and includes an annotated list of resources at the bottom for further reading.
4) 10 Days of... Teaching Spelling Through Word Study by Becky Spence, This Reading Mama
This resource was written by a woman who has taught spelling in the classroom, as a reading tutor, and now as a homeschooling mother of four.
5) The write way to spell: printing vs. typing effects on orthographic learning by Gene Ouellette and Talisa Tims
This is a research article published in an open-access journal, Frontiers. Thus everyone has access to the original research. The summary of this article is that teaching spelling via the computer or handwriting did not affect gains in spelling ability. However, individual student ability in typing did affect the results for the typing group of students, where students with better typing skills learned more than students who were not as proficient at typing. This was not the case for the handwriting group.
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