Adult spelling strategies

  • Holmes V
  • Malone N
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The goal of this study was to investigate how adult English speakers, who are good readers, but who differ in spelling ability, remember word-specific spelling information. In the first experiment, participants learned the spellings of words they had previously misspelled, while ldquothinking out loudrdquo. The main strategies observed in order of popularity were: letter rehearsal, overpronunciation, comparison of the remembered and the correct spelling, morphological analysis and visualisation. All strategies produced good learning success for the better spellers, but weaker spellers had less success with overpronunciation, comparison and morphological analysis. In a second experiment, when participants were shown their misspelling and the correct spelling, and instructed to use either overpronunciation or comparison to learn the correct spelling, learning success was independent of spelling ability. However, sequential verbal memory ability was associated with greater success in using overpronunciation, and sequential visual memory ability with greater success in using comparison. The findings provide new insight into the types of strategies that advanced learners use spontaneously to memorise arbitrary letter sequences, as well as revealing how effective the strategies are.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Adult spelling
  • Spelling strategies
  • Think-aloud procedure
  • Verbal memory
  • Visual memory

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  • Virginia M. Holmes

  • Naomi Malone

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