Improving spelling performance
Adolescent boys with an external locus of control
Students with an external locus of control may improve their spelling by being taught in a highly-structured environment. First, administer a pretest of fifteen spelling words in which the student writes each word verbalized by the teacher. After the student has turned in the pretest, give the student the list of correctly-spelled words with the following instructions: "For each word you think you missed, trace the word with your finger, write it three times on a piece of paper. Say the word and the letters to yourself in a whisper, each time you write the word." Allow the student fifteen minutes to study the words. Finally, collect the word list and administer a posttest of the same fifteen words.
Record the number of correctly-spelled words from the posttest which were originally misspelled on the pretest.
Bendell, D., Tollefson, N., & Fine, M. (1980). Interaction of locus-of-control orientation and the performance of learning disabled adolescents. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 13, 83-86.
Tricia Goyea, and Angelique Tritaris, UVA
Improving spelling accuracy
Middle grade students with learning disabilities who performed two years below grade level in reading with accompanying spelling performance deficits
Each student was given a list of ten words on Monday and asked to study the words on their own. On Tuesday, students were assessed for spelling accuracy by writing words from the list verbally presented by the teacher. Following verbal feedback, the students were instructed to simultaneously say aloud and write the correct spelling of incorrectly spelled words five times. On Wednesday and Thursday, the procedure was repeated except that incorrectly spelled words were rewritten and restated ten times and fifteen times respectively. Finally, on Friday a posttest was given to assess the students for spelling accuracy.
Percentage of words spelled correctly without any errors.
Kearney, C. A., & Drabman, R. S. (1993). The write-say method for improving spelling accuracy in children with learning disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 26, 52-55.
Sunny Drucker and Romell Haynes, UVA
Decreasing consonant cluster errors
Elementary aged children
The children were trained to select printed words in response to hearing the words using computerized matching-to-sample. Consonant cluster spelling errors are one of the most common spelling errors made by children. Consonant clusters appearing at the end gave children the most difficulty (i.e. HAD instead of HAND). Each child was given an initial oral spelling test consisting of twenty -four training words. High percentages of consonant cluster errors were made. Two types of training sessions were used. In the multiple difference and critical difference sessions, the child clicked on a question mark to hear a "speech bubble" saying and using the word in a sentence (i.e. SNOW. [pause] Snow is white). Then the child selected the word from the selection pool. After the first response, the incorrect answers became inoperable and the child would have to select the correct answer to be able to go on. In the testing session, constructed-response auditory stimuli were the same. After clicking on the question mark, the child had to construct a word by selecting the letters from a selection pool. After the letters were selected, they became inoperable enabling the child to only select each letter once.
Students were tested by using the constructed response transfer test. The students had to get the word right three times and then it was dropped from their list of words. The results were that using a computer became very useful in teaching spelling.
Birnie-Selwyn, B. & Guerin, B. (1997). Teaching children to spell: Decreasing consonant cluster errors by eliminating selective stimulus control. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 30, 69-81.
Chris A. Godsey, ETSU
Increasing spelling achievement
Elementary aged children with learning disabilities
In study 1, an alternating treatments design was used to compose the two active remediation procedures (positive practice alone and positive practice plus positive reinforcement). Positive practice is reinforcing accurate spelling with prizes, positive teacher comments, and posting papers with high spelling marks. Inaccurate spelling resulted in the student's writing out the word's correct spelling, correct phonetic spelling, parts of speech, complete dictionary definition, and it's usage in spelling sentences. During the first phase, children were instructed to spell the stimulus words on paper. Three sets of words were administered each day with no accuracy of spelling provided. During the treatment phase, the two remediation procedures were alternated daily in a counter balanced order while the no-remediation control procedure was probed on the first and last two days only. During the final phase, positive practice plus positive reinforcement was used with all three sets of words.
The effects of the two interventions (positive practice alone and positive practice plus positive reinforcement) improved spelling accuracy. Both conditions were superior to the no-remediation control condition.
Esveldt-Dawson, K., Matson, J., Ollendick, T., & Shapiro, E. (1980). Increasing spelling achievement: An analysis of treatment procedures utilizing an alternating treatment design. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 13, 645-654.
Chris A. Godsey, ETSU
Teaching spelling and sight vocabulary
Adolescents with behavior disorders and development disabilities
Three experimental conditions (i.e. cover write, write, and oral) were presented in an alternating treatments design. No-training control words were tested throughout the study.
Cover Write Method: the following 10 steps were presented in written and oral form and then modeled with a practice word.
1. Look at word, say it
2. Print the word two times
3. Cover, print one time
4. Check your word
5. Print the word two times
6. Cover, print one time
7. Check your word
8. Print the word three times
9. Cover, print one time
10. Check your work
Write Method: the write method was similar to the cover write method except the write method left out steps 3,6, and 9.
Oral Method: words were presented on the top line on the paper. Students were asked to say the word and spell the letters of the word aloud 10 times. Errors were corrected immediately, and praise was presented at the end of each trial.
The results showed that the cover procedure generally did not enhance performance over and above that procedure by practice alone and written practice was not superior to oral practice.
Ashley, K., Cuvo, A., Fry, T., Marso, K., & Zhany, B. (1995). Effect of response practice variables on learning spelling and sight vocabulary. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 28, 155-173.
Chris A. Godsey, ETSU
Improving spelling skills
10 children with developmental delays in kindergarten at an experimental school on a university campus
The experimenters divided the children into groups of two and placed one in a reading group and one in a spelling group. Each group was exposed to a specified teaching methodology to determine benefits. The spelling group was exposed to spelling lessons which broke down the individual parts of words. The first two of these lessons required the children to perform specific tasks which included writing and pointing out letters that made sounds, started, and ended words. The remaining eighteen lessons required the students to use magnetic letters to spell words out then write them on paper. The reading group was only presented the material through verbal techniques with no effort put towards specific word part recognition.
Several test were administered to determine the benefits of the program including: phonological blending and segmenting test, reading mastery word and pseudoword reading, and Woodcock reading mastery tests-revised. Instructors kept records of the exact words presented in a session, the child's spelling accuracy, and the number of repetitions of each word. When a child correctly spelled a word twice, it was not presented again. The results suggest that the children who practiced forming letter representations of spoken words developed more complete generalization of their current knowledge, which facilitated learning to read words.
O'Connor, R.E.,& Jenkins, J.R., (1995). Improving the generalization of sound/symbol knowledge: Teaching spelling to kindergarten children with disabilities. The Journal of Special Education, 29, (3). 255-272.
Richard Hutson, ETSU
forming letters correctly, spacing words appropriately, forming letters to a size relative to space provided
Elementary grade students with learning disabilities
The experiment took place in a small group setting, where the teacher was able to provide individual instruction. The participants wrote in journals for at least five minutes, and the teacher evaluated this writing sample according to a defined criteria. The student earned a point if the letter was no more than 1/16 inch below or above the line, if the letter was correctly formed according to "Building Handwriting Skills" (McDougal, Littell, & Co., 1982), if capital letters or lower case letters with ascenders were the correct height, and lower case letters were 1/2 the space tall. The students were scored by dividing their points by the total points possible, thereby creating a percentage that indicated their baseline performance level. The second portion of the experiment included a student self-evaluation, consisting of a card containing handwriting guidelines (such as paper and pencil position, letter placement, etc.). After completing a handwriting assignment, the student checked the guidelines he had met and placed an X by those he had not. Each day the teacher reminded the students to review their guideline cards, and the students were shown their progress on a graph. At the end of the experiment, the teacher reminded the students to keep the guidelines in mind, but they were not required to actually record their progress.
Tracking development by comparing baseline scores, task-card cued results, and self-cued results
Blandford, B. J., & Lloyd, J. W. (1987). Effects of a self-instructional procedure on handwriting. "Journal of Learing Disabilities", 20, 342-346.
Amy Angelo, Melissa Register, and Kelley Smith, UVA