Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal 13: 105–131, 2000.
© 2000 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.
Clinical appraisal of spelling ability and its relationship to
phonemic awareness (blending, segmenting, elision, and reversal),
phonological memory, and reading in reading disabled, ADHD,
and normal children
JUDITH M. KROESE
, GEORGE W. HYND
, DEBORAH F. KNIGHT
JENNIFER R. HIEMENZ
& JOSH HALL
University of Georgia;
Ball State University
Abstract. Seventy-eight 8-to-12-year-old children (34 Reading Disabled; 31 Attention-
Deﬁcit-Hyperactivity-Disordered; and 13 diagnosed normal controls) were given a battery
of tests including cognitive, linguistic, academic, phonemic awareness, and memory tests. As
part of the academic battery an 8-point spelling rating scale was developed (Rating Scale)
that resulted in three different scores which reliably discriminated among the three groups.
Relationships between phonemic awareness, phonological memory, reading and spelling were
explored. Zero-order and second-order correlations were completed with indications that
phonemic awareness tasks (elision, blending, reversal, and segmenting) and phonological
memory (WISC-III Digit Span) are signiﬁcantly correlated with reading decoding and spelling
measures with slightly higher correlations with the Rating Scale. Regression analyses resulted
in a large proportion of the variance on reading and spelling tasks accounted for by phonemic
awareness (particularly elision and reversal) and phonological memory. The Reading Disabled
group was found to produce more errors that were phonetically inaccurate than the other two
groups. The demand of spelling ten “error” words beyond the RD students’ achievement level
appeared to elicit greater weaknesses in their phonological recoding abilities than in those of
the ADHD or normally achieving students.
Keywords: Phonemic awareness, Phonetic accuracy, Quantitative/qualitative analysis, Read-
ing, Spelling, Spelling rating scale
Spelling has increasingly received attention in the area of literacy research.
Notably, it has been speculated that spelling develops in stages (Read 1971),
that these stages are related to reading development (Frith 1986; Goswami
1992), and that it is related to underlying phonological processing (Foorman,
Jenkins & Francis 1993; Goswami 1992; Moats 1993). In spite of spelling’s
relationship to reading development generally and to phonological aware-
ness in particular, it is often assessed both clinically and in research through
the use of a measure assessing only correctness of responses (Joshi 1995;
Moats 1995b). The reasons for this are unclear but may be related to the fact
that spelling is a complex language production measure which encompasses