A study of grade three and five students' strategic use of spelling knowledge
Spelling is often a lightning rod in discussions on literacy. The general public, as well as educators, often judge the state of literacy by the occurrence of accurate, conventional spelling (Templeton & Morris, 1999). The purpose of this study was to reveal how students employ strategies in their spelling and how spelling strategies were being taught in their classrooms. This study also sought to uncover teachers’, parents’, and students’ perspectives and knowledge regarding spelling.Case studies of six elementary school students were conducted. Each student was interviewed, along with their teachers and one of their parents. Students also filled out a self-reflection form. Students and teachers were observed in their classroom setting.Findings indicated that students used a variety of strategies. The primary strategy articulated was sounding out; the better spellers also used analogy and visualization. Students knew and often used the strategies encouraged by their teachers and parents. The literature linked the processes of reading, spelling and writing. Most of the participants mentioned the connection between reading and spelling, but failed to recognize the importance of writing for spelling. A third finding was that the teachers had adopted new methods for teaching spelling but had not altered their role to provide for increased learning. Implications for practice include suggestions for combined methods for teaching spelling, explicit teaching of strategies for all students, and teacher education that includes “reflection and action” (Ritchie & Wilson, 2000, p. 88).
spelling, strategies, case study, qualitative, elementary, interviews
Master of Education (M.Ed.)