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Spelling program rational

Spelling Program Rationale

Teaching spelling is one of the major areas of literacy where teachers in their first year of teaching find it difficult to tackle. This was the finding of a study at an Australian University. The study aimed at determining if some changes could be incurred during teacher preparation, which would enable the new teacher be fully equipped to tackle their first year in teaching with the relevant skills. As Adoniou (2014) elucidates, “They were nervous about their own spelling skills but also had a limited pedagogy for spelling.” The best way to improve their literacy skill was to adopt a new approach to spelling that does not rely on the belief that the acquisition of grammar is hierarchical but rather they occur concurrently commonly known as the ‘repertoire’ approach.

When trying to spell words, children tend to make connections to the basic knowledge in linguistics. Kids do not usually conceptualize linguistic knowledge in a serial way like in a flowchart (Adoniou, 2014). Often, this is not the case because the information occurs in parallel form. This approach gives children a complete set of resources to draw upon. Children’s approach of learning spelling is more effective compared to the standard method that is purely based on the phonological knowledge. Besides, the standard method assumes that words are simply representations of sounds instead of meaning (Apel, Masterson & Hart, n.d). The teaching principle is to ensure first that students understand the meaning of the word and the origin, as a teacher you should be able to explain in details and also ensure that they get the correct pronunciation, this help them to develop in other areas of literacy.

It is important to expose children to the morphemic nature of English, using phonological strategies alone may lead them to believe that spelling only aim at representing speech. Stage models of spelling development do not account for the impact of instruction. According to Fluck & Devonshire (2009), “Attention to morphology offers several advantages when learning to spell.” Hence, teacher should focus on morphological structures of the word while teaching spelling.

There is no doubt that spelling is a complex, language-based skill. Research shows that there are some areas from which foundations for spelling can be drawn from, these include; orthography and semantics. According to the stage theory of grammar development, some types of information are used at one stage and not at others. Due to this, the stage theory was called into question.

The repertoire theory of spelling suggests that from kindergarten through adulthood, learners access and utilize the various linguistic factors underlying spelling across time. It also supports what at times appear to be uneven or inconsistent spelling abilities. As children develop their spelling knowledge, they may learn certain spelling patterns, for instance, the doubling of consonants at the end of words like tall.

Apel, Masterson & Niessen, (n.d) write that, “The method of instruction also plays a critical role in facilitating the development of spelling abilities.” As a result, stage theory was dismissed because children begin to spell scribbling, paying little attention to specific letter shapes and the relationship between sound and letter, unlike repertoire approach which utilizes linguistics knowledge. Thus, spelling development may best be represented by growth in the number and actual use of children’s linguistic repertoires.

Professionals providing spelling instructions should not rely on stage models. Rather, appreciation and understanding of the multiple linguistic factors underlying spelling development. Classroom instructions have historically approached spelling development without addressing these factors. The more professionals have a shared definition, viewpoint, and understanding of spelling development and education, the more likely it will be that students will benefit from those professionals. Furthermore, as more school-based professionals further develop their understanding of spelling development and research guided instructions, they will begin to understand the significant contributions they can bring to forming students into literate citizens of the classroom and the community.


Apel .K., Masterson, J. & Hart, P (n.d). Integration of Language Components in Spelling. Instruction That Maximizes Students’ Learning. (n.p)

Apel, K., Materson. , J & Niessen, .N (n.d). Spelling Assessment Frameworks, n.p.

Devonshire, V & Fluck, M. (2009). Spelling development: Fine-tuning strategy-use and capitalizing on the connections between words. Learning and Instruction, 20 (2010) 361-371.

Misty, A. (2014). What should teachers know about spelling? n.p.