The Role of Letter Name Knowledge in Early Spelling Development: Evidence from Brazilian Portuguese

  • Cláudia Cardoso-Martins
  • Marcela Fulanete Corrêa
Part of the Literacy Studies book series (LITS, volume 2)


This chapter describes the results of studies investigating early spelling development among Portuguese-speaking individuals in Brazil. Similar to what has been found for English- and Hebrew-speaking children, we present evidence that 1) non-literate speakers of Brazilian Portuguese – both children and adults – use their knowledge of letter names to connect print to speech; and 2) reliance on letter names in beginning spelling development in Brazilian Portuguese accounts for the so-called syllabic spellings, i.e., spellings in which letters stand for whole syllables in the pronunciation of words. Taken together, these findings strongly suggest that an adequate theory of early spelling development in Brazilian Portuguese has to grant a major role for children’s knowledge of letter names and sounds. We argue that Ehri’s phase theory, developed on the basis of her observations of English-speaking children’s spellings, can be successfully extended to the case of early spelling development in Brazilian Portuguese.


Monosyllabic Word Spelling Skill Letter Sound Experimental Word Spelling Development 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The research described in this chapter was funded by Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq), Brazil. We thank the children and the schools for their cooperation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cláudia Cardoso-Martins
    • 1
  • Marcela Fulanete Corrêa
  1. 1.Universidade Federal de Minas GeraisBelo HorizonteBrazil

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