Reading and Writing

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 27–49 | Cite as

How do the spellings of children with dyslexia compare with those of nondyslexic children?

  • Marie Cassar
  • Rebecca Treiman
  • Louisa Moats
  • Tatiana Cury Pollo
  • Brett Kessler


Children with dyslexia are believed to have very poor phonological skills for which they compensate, to some extent, through relatively well-developed knowledge of letter patterns. We tested this view in Study 1 by comparing 25 dyslexic children and 25 younger normal children, chosen so that both groups performed, on average, at a second-grade spelling level. Phonological skill was assessed using phoneme counting and nonword spelling tasks. Knowledge of legal and illegal letter patterns was tested using a spelling choice task. The dyslexic children and the younger nondyslexic children performed similarly on all the tasks, and they had difficulty, for the most part, with the same linguistic structures. Supporting the idea that older dyslexics’ spellings are quite similar to those of typical beginners, we found in Study 2 that experienced teachers could not differentiate between the two groups based on their spellings.


Dyslexia Graphotactic Knowledge Phonological skill Spelling Spelling-level match 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marie Cassar
    • 1
  • Rebecca Treiman
    • 2
    • 4
  • Louisa Moats
    • 3
  • Tatiana Cury Pollo
    • 2
  • Brett Kessler
    • 2
  1. 1.Saginaw Valley State UniversitySt. Louis
  2. 2.Washington UniversitySt. Louis
  3. 3.Sopris West Educational ServicesSt. Louis
  4. 4.Department of PsychologySt. LouisUSA

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