Editorial skills: Spelling


Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookChapter


Developing proficiency in Standard (conventional) English spelling is a critical part of becoming a literate writer. Yet, conflicting perspectives on the typical course of spelling acquisition have emerged and this has perpetuated uncertainty about the most effective way to teach spelling. Standard English spelling requires integration of ‘written symbols in conventional sequences (orthography) that represent speech sounds (phonology) and word parts that signal meaning and grammar (morphology)’ (Garcia, Abbott, & Berninger, 2010, p. 63). In this chapter, we explore some of the complexities of learning to spell and illustrate how spelling acquisition is a gradual process of becoming efficient in the coordination of multiple linguistic skills. The chapter begins by explaining why spelling is an important editorial skill and word-formation problem solving process, and then shifts to an overview of the theoretical perspectives on spelling acquisition. Throughout the chapter, we will follow one child (Joshua) as he learns to spell. Examples of Joshua’s phonological, orthographic and morphological representations are presented in the context of his writing. This chapter also highlights the importance of explicitly teaching these three linguistic skills from the early years of learning to write.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication Understanding and supporting young writers from birth to 8
EditorsNoella Maree Mackenzie, Janet Scull
Place of PublicationAbingdon, Oxon UK
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9781138674448
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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