In a longitudinal study, we looked at the link between children'sunderstanding of a morphemically-based orthographic rule and theirawareness of morphemic distinctions. The orthographic rule in question wasthe use of the apostrophe to denote possession in English. Early on in thestudy, we gave the children phonological, semantic/syntactic and morpho-syntactic awareness tasks, and later we gave them a spelling task in whichthey had to write words which were either genitives (e.g., `boy's') ornominative or accusative plurals (e.g., `boys'). Eight- to 10-year-oldchildren found this task difficult, but their performance improved to someextent with age. The morpho-syntactic, but not the phonological orsemantic/syntactic, awareness tasks predicted how well the children placedapostrophes in genitive words and omitted them from plural words. Weconclude that different forms of linguistic awareness affect differentaspects of reading and spelling. Learning about spelling patterns based onmorphemes is heavily influenced by children's morpho-syntactic awarenessbut not, apparently, by other forms of linguistic awareness.
Reading and Writing – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 7, 2004
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