The present study examined the possibility that spelling fulfils a self-teaching function in the acquisition of orthographic knowledge because, like decoding, it requires close attention to letter order and identity as well as to word-specific spelling-sound mapping. We hypothesised that: (i) spelling would lead to significant (i.e. above-chance) levels of orthographic learning; (ii) spelling would actually result in superior learning relative to reading owing to the additional processing demands invoked when spelling; (iii) there would be stronger outcomes for post-test spelling production compared with spelling recognition; and (iv) relative to reading, spelling would produce superior orthographic learning in the case of later-occurring orthographic detail compared with information appearing earlier in the letter string. In a fully within-subjects design, third grade Hebrew readers were exposed to novel letter strings presented in three conditions: spelling, reading and an unseen control condition. With the exception of the position by condition interaction (our fourth hypothesis), which, although in the expected direction, failed to attain significance, all hypotheses were supported. These data highlight yet another dimension of reading-writing reciprocity by suggesting that spelling offers a powerful self-teaching tool in the compilation of word-specific orthographic representations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Psychology (miscellaneous)