Spelling skills of Czech primary school children in relation to the method of literacy instruction

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Abstract

This study investigates the importance of having a set reading instruction method for the development of spelling skills among Czech children ranging in age across the four beginning grades of primary school. 238 children learning to read and spell using an analytical-synthetic method and 251 children learning to read and spell using a genetic method participated in this study. The outcomes of word spelling tests were assessed for the different grade and age levels: first, second- third and fourth. Distributional patterns of spelling skills performance for both instruction method subgroups were created in each of the grade groups. Comparisons of spelling task outputs between both methods were conducted using a non-parametric Mann-Whitney test. Results indicate that children using the genetic method are more effective in acquiring phoneme-grapheme correspondences throughout the first grade, and thus show more accurate word spelling in the first grade spelling task. However, this initial advantage for children learning to spell using the genetic method soon disperses, and it is not reflected in better spelling performance throughout the second to third and fourth grade.

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