Effects of morphological awareness training on spelling of morphemes and morphologically complex words in fourth-grade French-speaking students

Effects of morphological awareness training on spelling of morphemes and morphologically complex words in fourth-grade French-speaking students

First Author: Anila Fejzo -- UQAM
Additional authors/chairs: 
Rihab Saidane; Kathleen Whissell-Turner
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose: The goal of this study was to evaluate the effects of morphological awareness training on the spelling of morphemes and morphologically complex words among French-speaking fourth-graders.
Method : In this intervention study, 111 French-speaking fourth-graders (mean age 9 years and 4 months) were recruited from three schools in the Montreal area. The experimental group was comprised of 46 students in 2 different classrooms who received a morphological awareness program conducted by the experimenter. The program involved 20 sessions and focused on prefix and suffix meanings and forms, and their concatenation rules. Measures of morphological awareness, and morpheme and word spelling were administered at pre- and posttests. Phonological awareness, vocabulary and nonverbal intelligence were measured at pretest to match the experimental and control groups.
Results : One-way repeated measures ANOVAs were performed with group (experimental-control) as a between-subject factor and test session (pretest-posttest) as a within-subject factor. Results indicated that morphological awareness training had significant effects on morphological awareness (η2 = .24), morpheme spelling (η2 =.31) and word spelling (η2=.25 ).
Conclusion : This study provides evidence of the effects of morphological awareness training on the spelling of morphemes and morphologically complex words. It extends previous findings demonstrating the causal relationship between morphological awareness and spelling (Nunes et al., 2003; Devonshire and Fluck, 2010; Casalis et al., 2018; Fejzo et al., 2017). From a theoretical perspective, the effects of morphological awareness training will be interpreted within metalinguistic developmental frameworks (Karmiloff-Smith, 1992, Gombert, 1992). The educational implications of these results will be also discussed.