Teaching Spelling: An Opportunity to Unveil the Logic of Language

By Louisa Moats Last updated 2024/05/27
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Moats emphasizes the importance of spelling knowledge and language understanding in literacy development in this article. It highlights that spelling is not just about memorizing letters but involves various language aspects like pronunciation, spelling, meaning, and grammatical structure. Good spellers possess comprehensive mental images of words, while poor spellers may lack accuracy and completeness. Moats discusses how students build their orthographic memory. She explains how phoneme awareness and grapheme-phoneme correspondences are essential for early spellers. She provides instruction on how to teach words with less predictable spelling patterns. The article also discusses how to introduce students to orthographic spelling patterns and position constraints of letters/graphemes. Moats argues that students must be taught syllable types, prefixes, suffixes, and roots to improve their spelling. The aim is to use Structured Literacy practices to comprehensively teach language structure, helping struggling students improve their reading and writing skills.

Curriculum Connection

B2. Language Foundations for Reading and Writing
This resource broadly supports the successful implementation of expectation B2: Language Foundations for Reading and Writing: demonstrate an understanding of foundational language knowledge and skills, and apply this understanding when reading and writing. Moats provides examples of how to use phonics, orthographic and morphological knowledge to spell regular words and words with irregularities. 
Grade(s): K 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Topic(s): Applying MorphologyApplying OrthographyApplying Phonics

1 Comment

  1. I especially appreciate when Moats describes the importance of grapheme-phoneme correspondence when working with students in grades 2 & 3 who have gaps. Also that teacher-led is preferred over independent because students need to be conscious of the process. I have a bit of confirmation bias from my experiences as well;)

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