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Invented spelling in kindergarten as a predictor of reading and spelling in Grade 1

Ouellette, Gene; Sénéchal, Monique. Invented spelling in kindergarten as a predictor of reading and spelling in Grade 1: A new pathway to literacy, or just the same road, less known? Developmental Psychology, Vol 53(1), Jan 2017, 77-88. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/dev0000179

This study evaluated whether the sophistication of children’s invented spellings in kindergarten was predictive of subsequent reading and spelling in Grade 1, while also considering the influence of well-known precursors. Children in their first year of schooling were assessed on measures of oral vocabulary, alphabetic knowledge, phonological awareness, word reading, and invented spelling; approximately one year later they were assessed on multiple measures of reading and spelling. The researchers found a direct line from invented spelling leading to improved reading scores at the end of first grade. The study suggests that invented spelling integrates phonological and orthographic growth and is a unique predictor of growth in early reading skills, over and above children’s alphabet knowledge and phonological awareness.

"When I say to a parent, "read to a child", I don't want it to sound like medicine. I want it to sound like chocolate. " — Mem Fox