Research has shown that not all children internalize the structure of English orthography as they learn to decode and spell. In fact, many children have difficulty mastering these two skills. In this paper, the relevance of word structure knowledge to decoding and spelling instruction and performance is discussed. It was anticipated that explicit, discussion oriented, and direct decoding instruction based on word origin and structure would result in improved reading and spelling performance. During the instruction, students compared and contrasted letter-sound correspondences, syllable patterns, and morpheme patterns in English words of Anglo-Saxon, Romance, and Greek origin. Upper elementary grade students receiving the decoding instruction made significant gains in word structure knowledge and in decoding and spelling achievement.
decoding instruction letter-sound correspondence orthography spelling word analysis word origin word structure