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The phonological skills of spelling disordered children


Children identified as having a reading disorder or a speech disorder are usually reported to have concurrent spelling difficulties. Does a central deficit involving phonological coding underlie all three abilities, so that if spelling is disordered, reading and speaking are also impaired to some degree? A group of five 11–12 year old children identified as poor spellers on an adaptation of the Schonell Graded Spelling Test were compared with reading age matched controls on a series of tasks tapping a variety of phonological skills. The tasks assessed real and nonsense word spelling and reading, the segmentation of speech sounds and syllables, rhyme judgement, and imitation of spoken polysyllabic words. The results indicated that children with disordered spelling had a general difficulty processing phonological information when reading, spelling and speaking. Performance deteriorated when phonological complexity increased. Qualitative analyses of errors provided some indication of compensatory strategy use. A tentative description of the nature of the underlying phonological deficit is offered.

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Dodd, B., Sprainger, N. & Oerlemans, M. The phonological skills of spelling disordered children. Read Writ 1, 333–355 (1989). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00386266

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  • phonological deficit
  • segmentation
  • speech disorder
  • spelling disorder