Two case studies of poor spelling in Hebrew: The recognition and recall of words' root letters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Two cases of poor spellers in Hebrew whose spelling errors could not be attributed to earlier impediment in reading acquisition are reported. The first subject was an adolescent native speaker of Hebrew with normal IQ, a student in a regular class whose reading achievements in tests given to him on several occasions between the ages of 8 and 14 were average, but his spelling did not improve over the years. The second subject was a 24-year-old mentally retarded man whose vocal reading of unvowelled Hebrew texts was almost normal in spite of very poor understanding of text content. He manifested extremely poor spelling, which contrasted with his vocal reading achievements. A specific battery of reading and writing tests was employed to test the hypothesis of a dissociation between recognition and recall of words' orthography in these cases. The hypothesis was not confirmed. Both subjects could read correctly homophonic heterographs that differed in one of their root letters, but they were unable to properly assign each to its meaning as indicated by the difference in spelling. On the other hand, both subjects could efficiently use similar differences in spelling between words in a pair in cases where the orthographic difference indicated different pronunciations. The dual phonological route hypothesis and an alternative two-stage phonological model are discussed to explain the results. It is suggested, at least in Hebrew, that the two-stage phonological model has several advantages in explaining development dissociations between skilled vocal reading and spelling ability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-221
Number of pages21
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1997


  • Addressed phonology
  • Assembled phonology
  • Dysgraphia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Two case studies of poor spelling in Hebrew: The recognition and recall of words' root letters'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this