The Unique Role of Early Spelling in the Prediction of Later Literacy Performance

Rebecca Treiman, Jacqueline Hulslander, Richard K. Olson, Erik G. Willcutt, Brian Byrne & Brett Kessler (2019) The Unique Role of Early Spelling in the Prediction of Later Literacy Performance, Scientific Studies of Reading, 23:5, 437-444, DOI: 10.1080/10888438.2019.1573242

Researchers examined the predictive value of early spelling for later reading performance by analyzing data from 970 U.S. children whose spelling was assessed in the summer following the completion of kindergarten. The word reading performance of most of the children was then tested after the completion of Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 4, and Grade 9. A computer-scored measure of post-kindergarten spelling was a significant predictor of later reading performance even after taking into account post-kindergarten phonological awareness, reading, and letter-sound knowledge and pre-kindergarten vocabulary. The results suggest that, by the end of kindergarten, spelling is more than just a proxy for phonological awareness and letter-sound knowledge. Given the information that spelling provides, it should be considered for inclusion when screening children for future literacy problems.

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