How Spelling Supports Reading

Rating: 5 Out of 5

Grades / Année(s) scolaire(s) :


This is a thorough, comprehensive article for all educators that clarifies how English spelling is much more regular and predictable than we may think! Dr. Louisa Moats outlines several key principles for making sense of the English spelling system, including the many factors that influence how words are spelled: the historical layers of English, parts of speech, position-based tendencies, and morphology.

Curriculum Connection / Connexion au programme-cadre

Across the Foundations of Language strand (and the Language Foundations Continuum), students apply their knowledge and understanding of phonics, orthography, and morphology to support word-level reading and spelling. For example, students use “the position of the grapheme or phoneme and their knowledge of position-based tendencies, as necessary, to support spelling and determine accurate pronunciation when reading.” This resource supports educators in 1) understanding why words are spelled the way they are, and 2) understanding how to provide evidence-based systematic and explicit instruction to support spelling. 

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  1. Ehri’s highlights the importance of orthography, and a great next step from this article would be the importance of assistive technologies and typing for students- who benefits, and HOW. How educators decide when it is appropriate, and how to explicitly teach those skills when they are needed to free up valuable cognitive resources.

  2. This helped me understand why some great decoders in Grade 7, lack comprehension and fluency. Morphology is important in all grades. Initially I thought explicit morphology instruction started much later than Kindergarten. That is simply not true. Great article!

  3. I appreciate that this article shares the importance of this work involving etymology and morphology up to grade 7. It is essential to explicitly spend time understanding the meanings of all of the parts of content words associated with science and math. I think that this behooves us to carefully consider the best ways to use word walls in classrooms to support knowledge of words and spelling.

    1. I love using a morpheme wall rather than a word wall. Similarly using a lexicon or a morpheme grabber, instead of spelling lists. It’s easy to let go of something if you can replace it with something more effective.

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