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Research Report

Teaching Spelling in the Primary Grades: A National Survey of Instructional Practices and Adaptations

Publication date:
Primary grade teachers randomly selected from across the United Sates completed a survey (N = 168) that examined their instructional practices in spelling and the types of adaptations they made for struggling spellers. Almost every single teacher surveyed reported teaching spelling, and the vast majority of respondents implemented a complex and multifaceted instructional program that applied a variety of research-supported procedures. Although some teachers were sensitive to the instructional needs of weaker spellers and reported making many different adaptations for these students, a sizable minority of teachers (42%) indicated they made few or no adaptations. In addition, the teachers indicated that 27% of their students experienced difficulty with spelling, calling into question the effectiveness of their instruction with these children.


Graham, S., Morphy, P., Harris, K., Fink-Chorzempa, B., Saddler, B., Moran, S., & Mason, L. (2008). Teaching spelling in the primary grades: A national survey of instructional practices and adaptations. American Educational Research Journal, 45, 796-825.

Related topics

Spelling and Word Study