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Title: Can we improve children's spelling ability by teaching morphemes through text reading : an intervention study exploring the relationship between morphological awareness and literacy
Author: Colchester, Emily J. R.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2701 8171
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2010
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Background: The need to improve children's spelling ability remains a key government agenda and is an issue encountered frequently by Educational Psychologists (EPs) in their practice. Recent research has suggested that there is a strong connection between awareness of morphemes and understanding and accurate use of the English spelling system, but relatively little is taught on this subject in school. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether a 5-week intervention can promote the development of 6- to 8-year-olds' morphological awareness and spelling ability. Method: Through the medium of guided group reading, an Intervention group were taught about the morphological rules that govern the spelling of plural `-s' and past tense `-ecf, whilst a Control group were taught about two phonologically-based spelling patterns. The intervention was compatible with current curriculum demands and was delivered to whole classes by their teachers. Pseudoword spelling tasks were administered at pre-, immediate post-, and delayed post-intervention points to assess the children's learning of the morphological rules in question. Results: Quantitative analyses suggested that the intervention did not have a significant impact on morphological awareness in spelling. However, a third of participating children showed clear gains, and reasons for variation in response to intervention were explored. The overall picture indicated that those with better literacy skills have better baseline morphological awareness and that they also responded best to the intervention. Conclusions: The implications of the results are discussed with reference to theories of literacy development and individual differences therein; and in the context of teaching and the profession of Educational Psychology. It is hoped that the study will increase the evidence-base of EP work, and raise awareness that the system of morphemes could be a powerful resource for children learning literacy.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available