Early spelling as a unique predictor of later reading and spelling in the deep Danish orthography

Early spelling as a unique predictor of later reading and spelling in the deep Danish orthography

First Author: Stine Engmose -- University College Absalon, Center for Teaching and Learning
Additional authors/chairs: 
Holger Juul
Keywords: Early Literacy Skills, Spelling, Reading, Longitudinal, Orthographic complexity
Abstract / Summary: 

A recent study by Treiman and colleagues (2019) found that end of kindergarten spelling uniquely predicted later reading. This supports that early spelling is more than a proxy of phonological awareness and letter-sound knowledge. A longitudinal study of Danish children investigates if this finding could be replicated for children learning to spell in Danish which, like English, has a deep orthography.
Method: The spelling, reading, phonological awareness (PA), and letter knowledge (LK) of 92 Danish children were tested in mid-kindergarten (the very beginning of formal literacy instruction). Both spelling and reading were scored as the computer-calculated distance to phonological acceptability. At the end of first grade and mid-third grade, the ability to spell and read correctly was measured. The unique contribution of the distance-measure of spelling to later reading and spelling, taking into account PA, LK, and reading, was assessed with hierarchical multiple regression.
Results: Analysis of data from kindergarten and first grade shows that the distance-measure of early spelling explain unique variance in first-grade reading (β =.38, p<.05), and spelling (β =.28, p<.05). Results for the prediction of third-grade reading and spelling will also be presented at the Annual Meeting.
Conclusions: The results are in line with the findings of Treiman et al 2019 and suggest that spelling from mid-kindergarten is more than a proxy of PA and LK. The result also suggests that at least in deep orthographies early spelling could be a relevant measure to include in early screenings of risk of difficulties in reading and spelling.
Treiman, R., Hulslander, J., Olson, R. K., Willcutt, E. G., Byrne, B., & Kessler, B. (2019). The unique role of early spelling in the prediction of later literacy performance. Scientific Studies of Reading