Summary of Traditional Spelling Research
to be reliable:
- Most commonly
used methods of teaching spelling
are ineffective. The most
by teachers and parents is that
students study their spelling words
on Thursday nights, take the test
on Friday, and by Monday the words
they memorized are forgotten.
- Of all the
spelling techniques currently
employed immediate student
self-correction is generally the
most effective (T. Horn
1946; Louis, 1950; Beseler, 1953;
Tyson, 1953; Thomas, 1954;
Schoephoerster, 1962, E. Horn, 1963;
Christine and Hollingsworth, 1966).
This element combined with careful
sequencing of words being presented
Spelling is so highly
- The teaching
of spelling rules is not the same as
the learning of spelling rules such
as the adding
of -s (-es, -ies), -ed (-ied).
In fact, research has indicated that
"using phonic rules, for most words,
is (NOT) a worthwhile instructional
procedure" (Fitzsimmons & Loomer,
- Dictation is
not generally used to help students
translate their spoken language into
written language. This lack of
specific practice leads to the
common occurrence of misspellings
such as "hafta" for have to, "sposta"
for supposed to, and "should of" for
should have. To help
remedy this gap in the teaching of
spelling AVKO has developed a book
- No currently
available commercial spelling
program presents all
the basic patterns of English spelling. What patterns they
do present are in an arbitrary order
not related to their difficulty in
learning. That is, they don't
proceed in a systematic order from
the easiest (such as the "in" rime
as in pin, sin, spin, win, grin,
etc.) to the more difficult rimes
(such as the "ology" rime as in
theology, geology, archaeology,
psychology, etc.) To help
remedy this situation, AVKO has
Sequential Spelling 1-7 series.
So that major educational publishers
might develop their own, AVKO has a
source book that they can use to
find all the patterns and all the
words that share the same patterns.
This is the book entitled:
Patterns of English Spelling.
Writing words several times each
does NOT help ensure spelling
retention (Abbot, 1909; E. Horn, 1967;
Green, 1968; Petty, 1968). AVKO
believes that immediate correction by the
student, erasing the misspelling and
writing the correct spelling just
once is at least
as effective as copying the same
word over and over again.
- "The spelling
words of highest frequency in child
and adult writing should be studied
by elementary school children"
(Thorndike, 1921; E. Horn 1924, 1926,
1939, 1960; Hollingsworth, 1965; T.
Horn, 1969b). AVKO believes
that this is especially true of the
"insane" words such as was, does,
should, couldn't, weren't, etc.
However, no studies exist that limit
themselves to the words that do not
follow regular spelling patterns.
Nor does any spelling series (except AVKO's) insist upon mastery of these
words. AVKO also believes that
even though the word nice is more
frequently encountered than the word
ice, ice should be taught first.
And along with ice and nice
should come rice, price,
lice, slice, mice, twice, etc.
No studies have ever been made to
determine the frequency of the
"patterns" or rimes. This, we
hope, will be done as a result of our
Proposed New Research
- "In order to
learn to spell, it is not necessary
for children to learn the meaning of
the majority of their spelling
words" (Petty, 1968).
This may be true, but it certainly
doesn't hurt a student to have the
opportunity to improve his/her
students this opportunity when it
includes among the at words such as
bat, rat, cat,
lists derived from the various
curricular areas are of little value
in increasing spelling ability"
(Fitzgerald, 1951, 1953).
awareness training and
is important for developing reading
and spelling skills (Griffith
& Olson, 1992; Haskell, Foorman, &
Swank, 1992; Helfgott, 1976; Wylie &
Durrell, 1970; Torgesen, Wagner, &
Rashotte, 1994; Yopp, 1992).
E.E., "On the Analysis of the Memory
Consciousness in Orthography."
University of Illinois Psychological
Monograph 11, 1909.
D.W., "An Experiment in Spelling Using
the Corrected Test Method." Unpublished
master's thesis, Central Washington
State College, Ellensburg, 1953.
The Teaching of
Spelling. Milwaukee: Bruce
Publishing Company, 1951.
Fitzgerald, J.A., "The Teaching of
Spelling," Elementary English,
Vol. 30, January 1953.
P.L., & Olson, M.W. (1992). "Phonemic
Awareness Helps Beginning Readers Break
the Code." The Reading Teacher,
D.W., Foorman, B.R., & Swank, P.R.
(1992). "Effects of Three
Orthographic/Phonological Units on
First-Grade Reading." Remedial and
Special Education, 13, 40-49.
J.A. (1976). "Phonemic Segmentation and
Blending Skills of Kindergarten
Children: Implications for Beginning
Reading Acquisition." Contemporary
Educational Psychology, 1, 157-169.
R., "A Study of Spelling Growth in Two
Different Teaching Procedures."
Unpublished master's thesis, Central
Washington State College, Ellensburg,
B.M., & Fitzsimmons, R.F. (1989) Spelling: Research and Practice.
Iowa City, IA: Useful Curriculum, Inc.
W., Developing Language Skills in the
Elementary Schools. Boston: Allyn
and Bacon, 1968.
J.K., Wagner, R.K., & Rashotte, C.A.
(1994). "Longitudinal Studies of
Phonological Processing and Reading,"
Journal of Learning Disabilities, 27,
(1992). "Developing Phonemic
Awareness in Young Children," The
Reading Teacher, 45, 696-703.