Cognitive processes related to spelling development in grades 5 and 7




Smith, Ardys

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This study explores the relationships between cognitive processes and spelling ability. The study consists of an instrumental component which involved testing 57 normal students in grades 5 and 7 on a survey of cognitive processes, and case studies on two good and two unexpectedly poor spellers. The cognitive processes assessed in this study include visual and auditory processes, reading by full or partial cues, learning by rote or by rule, and simultaneous and sequential processing. Spelling ability was assessed using phonologically irregular words. The relationships between subjects' spelling abilities and cognitive processing abilities and styles were analyzed using a Pearson product-moment correlation. Profiles of good and unexpectedly poor spellers at the grade 5 and grade 7 levels were developed using a multidimensional scaling procedure. The correlational analysis was conducted using the scores of all subjects in grades 5 and 7. Spelling ability was found to be correlated with reading using full orthographic cues, learning by rote, visual and auditory processing and memory, and both simultaneous and sequential processing styles as tested in this study. The multidimensional scaling procedure provided information which was used to develop profiles of idealized individual grade 5 and grade 7 good and poor spellers. The grade 5 good speller was found to be strong in rote learning, sequential processing, and reading using full cues. The grade 7 good speller was strong in rule learning, simultaneous processing and reading using full cues. The poor spellers at each grade differed from the good spellers primarily in reading style. These findings support the theory that a cognitive shift, which has a notable impact on spelling ability, occurs around age 10. The case study data indicated a strong relationship between primary spelling strategy, reading style, and spelling ability. The two good spellers read using full cues and rely primarily on visual-orthographic strategies in spelling. The two poor spellers read using partial cues and reported primary reliance on phonologic strategies in spelling.



Spelling, Psychology of, Cognition in children, Reading, Psychology of