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Title: Individual differences in learning to spell and the efficacy of different teaching strategies
Author: Weeks, Sally Annette Jane
ISNI:       0000 0001 3565 2963
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2002
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Brooks and Weeks (1999) showed the value of using the child’s cognitive strengths to support the learning of spellings. The present research extends this work by varying the type of materials to be learnt and the methods of assessing strengths. The research broadens the applicability of the procedures by investigating the effects on an older cohort of children, pupils from varied educational backgrounds and those with different cognitive/behavioural profiles to those assessed in Brooks and Weeks. Background issues were investigated in a series of Preliminary Investigations. Findings indicated that: (i) teachers do not normally use the child’s cognitive strengths to inform teaching; (ii) very different profiles are presented by children with single-word literacy deficits but with different underlying learning difficulties; (iii) the relative weaknesses presented by younger dyslexic children may disappeared in older cohorts of dyslexic children. Intervention studies focused on the benefits of teaching to cognitive strengths using both single-case and group-design in dyslexic and non-dyslexic children. Findings were only partially consistent with those of Brooks and Weeks, suggesting that age may be an important factor in determining the most effective teaching strategy. The results indicated that factors such as abnormal levels of hyperactivity might intervene in the relationship between cognitive profile and learning success in some of these older children. They also highlighted that assessing cognitive skills, rather than subtyping children based on spelling error analyses, was generally a more reliable method for guiding teaching method choice. The findings are discussed in terms of three perspectives: (i) current theoretical views on literacy difficulties and dyslexia; (ii) the use of appropriate research methodology to assess for literacy difficulties; and (iii) practical advise on how teaching and learning strategies should be used to support the acquisition of literacy. Finally, the need for early diagnosis and support is emphasised.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Dyslexic children