Helping Students Find Out How Words Work...
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Teacher Questionnaire


Learning to spell is more difficult than learning to read and for most people, accurate spelling requires some knowledge of the spelling system that underpins written English - knowledge of the reasons why words are written the way they are. 


Rebecca Treiman (2011) says:
"However spelling is more difficult than reading. One reason is that, across languages, ambiguity tends
to be greater in the sound-to-spelling direction than the spelling-to-sound direction. Another reason is
that spellers must produce all of the elements of a word in the correct order, whereas readers can
sometimes  identify a word on the basis of a subset of its letters or on the basis of its context. People
who depend quite heavily on partial cues for word recognition may be above-average readers but
below-average spellers. Because good reading does not automatically ensure good spelling, teachers
cannot ignore spelling. Encouraging children to invent their own spellings is valuable early on, but
children must learn that each word has a conventional written form. They must learn about the
principles and patterns that motivate the spellings of their language. Although learners can induce
some patterns without explicit teaching, well-designed instruction can speed their learning. (pp.3,4)"

Ref:   Spelling. In P. C. Hogan (Ed.), Cambridge encyclopedia of the language sciences (pp. 799–800). New York: Cambridge University Press.


This means that teachers need to understand the phonological, orthographic and morphological properties of words and to know about the most reliable spelling rules and conventions that affect the spelling of English words.


Download the teachers' questionnaire to find out what you know about the spelling system of written English.

Download the answers to the teachers' questionnaire.

The information in this questionnaire is covered in the teaching topics in the two teacher guides Switch on to Spelling and Spelling Under Scrutiny.