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'Unexpected' spelling difficulty in a ten-year-old child with good reading skills: An intervention case study

Masterson, J; Roncoli, S; (2016) 'Unexpected' spelling difficulty in a ten-year-old child with good reading skills: An intervention case study. Writing Systems Research , 8 (2) pp. 143-166. 10.1080/17586801.2016.1159539. Green open access

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Abstract

We report a single-case intervention study of Alan, a child aged 10;04, who presented with spelling difficulty but good reading skills. Assessment of the potential cognitive functions underlying the spelling difficulty explored phonological abilities, visual memory and letter report. We also assessed print exposure and verbal memory. Results of analysis of spelling performance revealed an effect of word length on accuracy, and spelling errors involving omission, insertion, substitution and transposition of graphemes. Results of the literacy-related assessments indicated that Alan did not have a phonological or visual memory deficit, but he showed impaired performance in the letter-report task when asked to report all the letters in the five-item test array. On the basis of previous research, we hypothesised that Alan’s unexpectedly poor spelling was due to a graphemic buffer deficit. Two different interventions were employed: a lexical-orthographic programme, followed by one aimed at improving sublexical abilities. The results showed a significant increase in spelling accuracy after the lexical-orthographic intervention for the treated word set, and a small improvement for the untrained words that was significant at delayed post-intervention testing. The improvement was shown to persist over time. No improvement in spelling was observed after the sublexical intervention. The study emphasises the importance of a wide assessment in order to investigate cognitive processes underpinning spelling difficulty.

Type: Article
Title: 'Unexpected' spelling difficulty in a ten-year-old child with good reading skills: An intervention case study
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/17586801.2016.1159539
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17586801.2016.1159539
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2016 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
Keywords: Spelling, Cognitive processes, Neuropsychological assessment, Multi-character processing, Treatment
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
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
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1493472
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