Instruction matters: spelling of vowels by children in England and the US

Instruction matters: spelling of vowels by children in England and the US Letter names are stressed in informal and formal literacy instruction with young children in the US, whereas letters sounds are stressed in England. We examined the impact of these differences on English children of about 5 and 6 years of age (in reception year and Year 1, respectively) and US 6 year olds (in kindergarten). Children in both countries spelled short vowels, as in bag, more accurately than long vowels, as in gate. The superiority for short vowels was larger for children from England, consistent with the instructional emphasis on letter sounds. Errors such as gat for words with long vowels such as gate were more common among US children, reflecting these children’s use of vowels’ names as a guide to spelling. The English children’s performance on a letter knowledge task was influenced by the fact that they are often taught letter sounds with reference to lowercase letters and letter names with reference to uppercase letters, and their spellings showed some effects of this practice. Although emphasis on letter sounds as opposed to letter names influences children’s patterns of performance and types of errors, it does not make the difficult English writing system markedly easier to master. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Reading and Writing Springer Journals

Instruction matters: spelling of vowels by children in England and the US

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Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright
Copyright © 2012 by Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Subject
Linguistics; Languages and Literature; Psycholinguistics; Education (general); Neurology; Interdisciplinary Studies
ISSN
0922-4777
eISSN
1573-0905
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11145-012-9377-4
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Letter names are stressed in informal and formal literacy instruction with young children in the US, whereas letters sounds are stressed in England. We examined the impact of these differences on English children of about 5 and 6 years of age (in reception year and Year 1, respectively) and US 6 year olds (in kindergarten). Children in both countries spelled short vowels, as in bag, more accurately than long vowels, as in gate. The superiority for short vowels was larger for children from England, consistent with the instructional emphasis on letter sounds. Errors such as gat for words with long vowels such as gate were more common among US children, reflecting these children’s use of vowels’ names as a guide to spelling. The English children’s performance on a letter knowledge task was influenced by the fact that they are often taught letter sounds with reference to lowercase letters and letter names with reference to uppercase letters, and their spellings showed some effects of this practice. Although emphasis on letter sounds as opposed to letter names influences children’s patterns of performance and types of errors, it does not make the difficult English writing system markedly easier to master.

Journal

Reading and WritingSpringer Journals

Published: May 8, 2012

References

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