Four Second Graders’ Descriptions of How They Spell

Suzanne Langford, Mary Neal


This study describes and categorizes the ways in which four children (two above-average and two below-average spellers) from one second grade classroom, use and talk about their spelling knowledge during a qualitative spelling inventory and an informal writing activity. Qualitative data include audiotapes of “talk-alouds” and interviews with the students, written spellings that students produced, field notes documenting informal conversations with the students’ first grade teachers, and classroom observations. The data revealed two categories of spelling knowledge: (1) developmental stage spelling knowledge and (2) verbalized spelling knowledge. The data defined ten subcategories of spelling knowledge. Patterns that emerged from the data suggest that students’ spelling knowledge in a specific subcategory relates to spelling ability and spelling task. Data also suggest participants’ instruction and application of invented spelling in first grade may influence certain features of spelling knowledge.

Full Text: