Spelling out their stories: What can we learn about spelling from the voices of children and their teachers?


Research output: Contribution to conference (non-published works)Abstract


Capturing the complexities of learning and instruction in spelling has predominantly involved empirical analyses of student spelling using standardised measures of spelling performance. Yet, the voices of students and their teachers also have potential to offer valuable insights. This paper shares semi-structured interview data from students and their teachers (Years 3 to 6) in the Australian Capital Territory. Content analysis of the interview transcripts was employed to gain rich descriptions of the spelling strategies those students used, as well as the instructional approaches teachers reportedly adopted. Insights were revealing: If students were mostly taught to ‘sound out’ words and/or to ‘retrieve words’ from long term memory, they were lesslikely to consciously draw on other linguistic processeswhen encodingless familiar words. The findings also suggest that success with spelling may partly be attributed to the opportunities that children have been afforded both at home and at school, with reading, writing and speaking; however, teachers’ linguistic knowledge, confidence in teaching spelling and quality of instruction were also critical factors.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventAATE/ALEA National Conference: Weaving Worlds with Words and Wonder - Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia
Duration: 7 Jul 201610 Jul 2016


ConferenceAATE/ALEA National Conference
Internet address


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