Reading and Writing

, Volume 9, Issue 5, pp 451–481

Is children's spelling naturally stage-like?

  • Connie K. Varnhagen
  • Michelle McCallum
  • Meridith Burstow
Article

DOI: 10.1023/A:1007903330463

Cite this article as:
Varnhagen, C.K., McCallum, M. & Burstow, M. Reading and Writing (1997) 9: 451. doi:10.1023/A:1007903330463

Abstract

Children's spelling development is often described by researchers and educators as proceeding through a series of stages. Two properties of stages were analyzed in this study. If spelling development can be characterized by stages, then it should be possible to observe qualitatively different spellings at different points in development. In addition, spellings within a point of development must be consistent. Spelling samples were obtained from stories written by children in first through sixth grade. Stage classifications of spellings for (a) silent -e long vowel words (e.g., bake), and (b) regularly affixed past tense words phonologically represented as /t/ (e.g., helped), /d/ (e.g., opened), and /ed/ (e.g., listed) were analyzed. Little evidence was found for either predicted qualitative differences in stage classification of errors or in stage constancy across grades. Implications for theories of spelling development and instructional practice are discussed.

SpellingSpelling developmentSpelling stagesSpelling strategies

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Connie K. Varnhagen
    • 1
  • Michelle McCallum
    • 1
  • Meridith Burstow
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of AlbertaCanada