Research Project

Whole-class spelling lists or more reading and writing?

Research Question

How do students transfer knowledge of spelling into their independent writing when given whole-class teacher selected spelling lists versus additional reading and writing instruction?

What does research say?

Literacy research that deals explicitly with spelling instruction has concluded that contrary to popular belief, a formal, prepackaged spelling program does not support student’s ability to spell. Often, students do well on Friday posttests, but this knowledge does not transfer over into their writing (Guza & McLaughlin, (1987). One researcher suggests that when a teacher develops the word list based on common misspellings, there is more success (Beckham-Hungler, et al, 2003). A second researcher suggests that simply additional reading and writing instruction will support spelling acquisition (Berninger, 2002). My study strives to determine which of these two methods support spelling knowledge in student's independent writing.

Study Information

Who: 78 students ages 10-12. (4 classrooms-- 2 Fifth Grade & 2 Sixth Grade)

What: Researchers study student independent journals to determine which instructional method better supports spelling acquisition.

Where: Title 1 Chicago suburbs public elementary school

When: 14 Weeks

How: Content Analysis- quantitative & qualitative measures of student spelling in independent writing journals

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Intended Outcomes

My hope is to find instructional strategies to support upper elementary-aged students with their spelling in writing. Too often, students come to 5th and 6th grade with limited knowledge of common words that need to be corrected, but there is not much time or instructional strategies to be used in intermediate grade levels. Therefore, this study will help to alleviate the spelling errors and support students who would greatly benefit from spelling instruction.