Is children's spelling naturally stage-like?
- Cite this article as:
- Varnhagen, C.K., McCallum, M. & Burstow, M. Reading and Writing (1997) 9: 451. doi:10.1023/A:1007903330463
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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.