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Spelling difficulty in a 10 year old trilingual child: a case study and report of an effective intervention programme

Masterson, J; Niolaki, G; (2015) Spelling difficulty in a 10 year old trilingual child: a case study and report of an effective intervention programme. In: Jorda, MPS and Falomir, LP, (eds.) Learning and using multiple languages: current findings from research in multilingualism. (pp. 82-109). Cambridge Scholars Publishing: Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK. Green open access

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Abstract

This chapter reports a case study of a 10-year-old multilingual girl, NT, who exhibited spelling difficulties in spite of average reading ability in Greek and English. An intervention was conducted with the aim of improving NT’s spelling ability. The significance of the study derives from the fact that intervention case studies with multilingual students are rare (Bialystok 2007). Before introducing the investigations, we outline the theoretical framework, differences between the writing systems of Greek and English, potential reasons for spelling difficulties in children and some recent intervention case studies for spelling difficulties. The investigations and intervention were based on the dual route (DR) model of spelling (Barry 1994). DR models postulate that competent spellers use two procedures for spelling. One procedure is known as the lexical or whole word route, and can deal with familiar words that are either regularly spelled (e.g. mint, land) or irregularly spelled (e.g., mortgage, yacht). The second, sublexical procedure involves stored knowledge of sound-spelling rules and allows us to spell unfamiliar words or pseudowords. Research has indicated that spelling in English is more difficult than reading (Treiman 1993; Spencer 2010). This is also the case for other languages, such as Greek, where feedback inconsistency is greater than feedforward consistency (Spencer, Loizidou-Ieridou, and Masterson 2010). This is because some phonemes can be spelled in different ways in these languages. Harris and Giannouli (1999) noted that Greek spelling is based on the etymology of the words rather than their current pronunciation and that this can be the cause of difficulty for children learning to spell in that language. Nunes, Aidinis, and Bryant (2006) point out that inconsistency in Greek lies in the context of a system that is otherwise highly consistent. However, for English spelling one cannot claim the same. According to Vousden (2008) 39% of graphemes, 16% of onsets, and 18% of rime mappings are inconsistent. This level of inconsistency might be expected to discourage use of sublexical or ‘sounding out’ processes in young children and encourage more reliance on whole-word, visual memorisation processes.

Type: Book chapter
Title: Spelling difficulty in a 10 year old trilingual child: a case study and report of an effective intervention programme
ISBN: 1443871826
ISBN-13: 9781443871822
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: http://www.cambridgescholars.com/learning-and-usin...
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2015 by Maria Pilar Safont Jordà, Laura Portolés Falomir and contributors.
Keywords: spelling difficulty
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Psychology and Human Development
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Social Research Institute
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1475858
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