Monday, April 3, 2017

Important Research About Beginning Readers

I do love the way Twitter can lead me to learning and research such as this Pathways to Begining Reading study reported recently.  

Researchers from Canada, Oullette and Senechal (2017) are reporting a significant reading-writing connection that collaborates what Marie Clay (1982) reported in her landmark study.  
Invented spelling can make all the difference 

Invented, or temporary spelling as some of us would like to call it, provides "mental reflection and practice with words."  The human brain gets better at whatever it practices. 

"Reflection about how to spell a word allows the child to actively practice making decisions.memorizing. This active practice likely results in synaptic changes in the child’s brain by strengthening neuronal pathways for long term-retention of spellings to be retrieved for reading and writing."

Using temporary spellings, children start out approximating the sounds in words, like they do when learning to talk, and then get more accurate and understandable as time goes on. 
In recent years, some leaders in the educational field have considered invented or temporary spelling to be the cause of bad spelling rather than a route to reflective spelling. There has been a strong push to encourage memorization of words and phonetic patterns. While I am certainly not suggesting we abandon some "direct instruction," this does suggest we should look for ways to encourage meaningful, personally directed writing for our beginning writers.   
Ouellette and Sénéchal conclude that invented spelling facilitates literacy growth. It integrates phonological and orthographic growth. 

Please spread the word.

1 comment:

Loralee said...

Thank you for sharing this post. So important!

Dr. Ouellette shared his research with us this past spring. (I am in a Emergent Learners focus group with my school district.)