Spelling predictors of English Additional Language and English-only children with and without a spelling difficulty

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Abstract

Background: This study investigates spelling performance of English only and English Additional Language (EAL) children with and without spelling difficulties. Knowledge of an additional language might indicate reliance on different spelling processes. It might be expected that phonological ability would be more strongly associated with spelling performance in EAL children due to awareness of a more transparent language than English. It might also be expected that children with spelling difficulties might use different spelling skills in comparison to the two groups with no spelling difficulties. Methods: Research into spelling is sparse. Thus, participants (N=217, age range from 7 to 10 years, recruited from schools in the UK), were assessed with a standardised single word spelling test (WIAT-II, Wechsler 2005). They were also assessed in phonological ability, rapid digit naming, visual attention span, visual memory and two tasks of print exposure. One-way ANOVA and correlational analyses were conducted to investigate associations and to compare performance. Findings: We found that EAL groups performed significantly lower in print exposure tasks in comparison to English-only typical spellers (tEALtypical(144)=6.67, p<.001, r=.49 & tEALatypical(144)=4.38, p<.001, r=.34) but not differently to English-only atypical spellers (p>.05, respectively). Discussion: These findings demonstrate the importance of appropriate interventions for bilingual children targeting if possible both languages and with selection of appropriate stimuli for spelling support. Thus, we also discuss the importance of developing psycholinguistic databases for bilingual children like BiLex-Kids, a database we developed for bilingual children learning Greek as a second language.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sep 2017
EventBPS Conference Developmental Section 2017 -
Duration: 13 Sep 201715 Sep 2017

Conference

ConferenceBPS Conference Developmental Section 2017
Period13/09/1715/09/17

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