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On the Relations between Learning to Spell and Learning to Read

The study of spelling is oddly neglected by
researchers in the cognitive sciences who devote
themselves to reading. Experimentation and
theories concerning printed word recognition
continue to proliferate. Spelling, by contrast, has
received short shrift, at least until fairly recently.
It is apparent that in our preoccupation with
reading, we have tended to downgrade spelling,
passing it by as though it were a low-level skill
learned chiefly by rote. However, a look beneath
the surface at children's spellings quickly
convinces one that the common assumption is
false. The ability to spell is an achievement no less
deserving of well- directed study than the ability
to read. Yet spelling and reading are not quite
opposite sides of a coin. Though each is party to a
common code, the two skills are not identical. In
view of this, it is important to discover how
development of the ability to spell words is phased
with development of skill in reading them, and to
discover how each activity may influence the
other. Thus, this chapter is concerned with the
relationship between reading and writing.
It is appropriate to begin by asking what infor-mation an alphabetic orthography provides for a
writer and reader, and to briefly review the possi-ble reasons why beginners often find it difficult to
understand the principle of alphabetic writing and
to grasp how spellings represent linguistic struc-ture. In this connection, would an orthography
best suited for learning to spell differ from an or-thography best suited for learning to read??????????
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