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Developmental stage theory of spelling: analysis of consistency across four spelling-related activities.


The ability to spell has not diminished despite the ubiquitous use of computers and the Internet by many members of our society. In fact, spelling skills (or lack thereof) are now more publicly exposed than ever before as people communicate widely through email, self-published websites and weblogs on the Internet.

Indeed, a brief review of the popular adolescent website MySpace ( reveals four types of non-conforming spellings :

* acronyms (eg. 'lol' for 'laugh out loud')

* abbreviations (eg. 'gr8' for 'great', 'wkend' for 'weekend')

* purposeful phonetic spellings (eg. 'u' for you and 'luv' for love)

* spelling errors (eg. 'chor' for 'chore' and 'cought' for 'caught').

Although evident in online text, these spellings are a long way from being acceptable forms of written communication in formal situations. All written texts are subject to our conscious or unconscious evaluations about the literacy ability of the author and opinions are generally negative, especially with respect to type (d) spelling errors.

Spoken and written languages evolve to reflect socio-cultural changes. However, the beliefs that correct spelling gives writing credibility, and that developments in technology have not replaced the need for spelling knowledge, hold true today (New South Wales Department of Education and Training, 1998). Since spelling was formalised there has been relative consensus that spelling is an important functional skill for educated citizens. Research abounds to suggest that parents and teachers in particular value the importance of spelling accuracy. Chandler and the Mapleton teacher-research group (2000), for example, surveyed 126 parents and found that 100 percent believed spelling is important or extremely important. Research studies such as this support the statement previously made by Bean and Bouffler (1987):
 standard spelling has assumed importance beyond the function it
 plays in written language. It has become the 'ticket' to the
 literacy club--the heir to the traditions and scholarly world of
 print. (p. 67)

On the premise that accurate spelling is still an important and significant skill, this paper reports on one aspect of a study that examined the extent to which the developmental stage theory of spelling captures children's consistency of orthographic knowledge across a range of written, verbal and practical spelling activities.

Developmental stage theory of spelling

Models of spelling development emerged in parallel with cognitive stage theories, and developmental spellings are believed to result from the different strategies children use at various stages of cognitive development (Ellis, 1994, 1997; Gentry, 1984). A notable researcher in the area of spelling development, Gentry (1981, 1984), surmised that ongoing research has demonstrated that children's writing moves through strictly defined stages that, similar to oral language, proceed from simple to more complex activities, with the reshaping of cognitive structures at each level.

Evolution of the developmental stage theory of spelling can be traced to a study conducted by Charles Read. Read (1971) examined the assumption that children's memorised bits of generally unpredictable spelling failed to account for the abilities of mature readers and writers. On this basis he investigated preschool children's knowledge of English orthography by examining their 'invented spellings'. Read found that the children arrived at common and systematic spellings for unknown words. This heralded the beginnings of research into the development stage theory of spelling.

Scholars at the University of Virginia questioned Read's findings and undertook studies to build upon his research (see for example Beers, Beers & Grant, 1977; Beers & Henderson, 1977). Like Read, the Virginia-based researchers also utilised error analysis to study the invented spellings of children. As a result of these studies, specific stages of spelling development were identified.

Characteristics of the developmental stages of spelling

A review of predominant research in this area revealed that although stages differ in name and number there is a clear developmental sequence:
random symbols to represent words

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some sounds in words represented

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all sounds in words represented

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awareness of orthographic patterns

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application of syllable rules

[down arrow]

application of derivational/meaning knowledge

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generally accurate spellings

In other words, the stages follow the ordering principles in the English spelling system: first knowledge of the alphabet and letter sounds, followed by understanding of letter patterns and sequences, and then awareness of the meaning relationships between English words (Henderson & Templeton 1986).

Key researchers, and others who have interpreted their findings, provide specific and extremely detailed descriptions of the characteristics of each stage of development. An overview of the various stages, as defined by notable researchers in this area, is presented in Table 1.

Table 2 summarises the specific characteristics of each developmental stage, which has been discerned by the author from the work of prominent researchers of the development stage theory of spelling (Bear & Templeton, 1998; Bear, Truex & Barone, 1989; Beers & Henderson, 1977; Bissex, 1980; Gentry, 1982, 1987, 1993; Henderson, 1990; Henderson & Beers, 1980; Henderson & Templeton, 1986).

Beers and Beers (1992) concisely summarise the findings that have resulted from the developmental stage theory research as follows:
 this research has led to several conclusions: (1) the spelling
 errors that children make as they write are not random errors, (2)
 there are indeed identifiable stages of orthographic awareness
 through which children pass as they become more proficient in their
 writing, and (3) children proceed through these stages at varying
 rates. (p. 231)

Additionally, it is claimed that children do not fluctuate radically between these stages. Once a stage has been mastered, children generally do not revert to earlier stage characteristics (Gentry, 1982; Lutz, 1986). For example, if a child were identified to be performing in the Within-word Pattern Stage, they would not revert to spelling unknown words pre-phonetically

For the purposes of this paper and within the study described here, the sequence of spelling development defined by Bear in Table 1 has been used: Preliterate, Prephonetic, Letter-Name, Within-Word Pattern, Syllable Juncture, Derivational Constancy. Bear's sequence has been recognised by a number of other researchers as encapsulating widely accepted features (see, for example, Henderson, 1990; Henderson & Templeton, 1986; Templeton & Bear, 1992; Templeton & Scarborough-Franks, 1985).

The impetus for the study described in this paper was a concern that the developmental stages appeared too 'tidy' to accurately capture the diversity of individuals found in any one classroom. Also, much of the existing research relied on analysis of spelling errors from word lists and natural writing samples alone and did not examine orthographic knowledge evident in other forms of spelling activity (such as editing and sorting words).

The Study

Research participants

Six Year 3 children attending a government school on Sydney's North Shore participated in this study. The children were chosen based on two criteria: (1) they each spelled words above the prephonetic stage of development, and (2) were able to orally express themselves.

A range of students performing at each of the developmental stages was desired. In order to identify appropriate participants, the Ganske (1993) Developmental Spelling Analysis--A Qualitative Measure for Assessment and Instruction--Screening Inventory was conducted with an entire Year 3 class.

From this, twelve children who were representative of a variety of developmental stages were identified. Discussion with the classroom teacher regarding each child's ability to articulate their thoughts resulted in the choice of six participants: Matt, Kathryn, Mina, Max, India and Eric.

Research design

In the first instance the current stage of spelling development was determined for each participant using the Ganske (1993) instrument, which consists of a Screening Inventory, which examines all stages, and various Feature Inventories, which examine each stage in-depth. Second, five natural writing samples (two draft stories and three journal entries) were examined using the Bear, Invernizzi, Templeton and Johnson (1996) checklist. The Bear et al. (1996) checklist uses natural writing samples to identify developmental stages. For each stage of development (Preliterate, Early Letter-Name, Letter-Name, Within-Word Pattern, Syllable Juncture and Derivational Constancy) specific elements are noted as existent, or not, in the writing samples and reported as a percentage of total correct to total spelled.

Determination of spelling consistency

The two identification measures described above provided a very clear indication of the current stage of development of each participant and were, therefore, important data collection sources. In addition to these two forms of data, a series of editing activities and word sorting activities were also incorporated. The participants were asked to 'think aloud' whilst they edited passages purposefully constructed by the researcher and also while editing their own work. The participants were also asked to 'think aloud' as they engaged in word sorting activities that were carefully constructed to incorporate word features expected at each level of spelling development. Word sorting activities included:

* open word sorts--where the participants independently sorted words (flashcards) based on their own criteria

* closed word sorts--where the researcher sorted the words (flashcards) into categories and the participants were asked to identify the researcher's categories

* written words--where the participants were given keyword headings and asked to sort words by writing each word dictated by the researcher in one of the headed columns.

Overall, the range of spelling-related tasks and activities used to capture participants' consistency across their developmental stage included:

* word lists (three lists per student from the Ganske (1993) tool)

* natural writing samples (using the Bear et al. (1996) checklist)

* editing activities

* word sorting tasks

* researcher-developed derivational constancy spelling list (for participants at later stages of spelling development).

From the literature reviewed related to stages of spelling development, this appears to be the broadest range of activities used to determine the consistency with which a child performs spelling-related tasks within their identified stage of development.

The following section presents an overview of the consistency with which each participant spelled within his or her identified stage of spelling. Inconsistencies are determined by identifying all words that are spelled:

(a) incorrectly--demonstrating orthographic understanding below the child's developmental stage

(b) correctly--demonstrating orthographic understanding above the child's identified developmental stage.

For example, a child spelling at the Within-Word Pattern Stage would be evaluated on the spelling of the word 'brake' as follows:

'braik'--consistent with stage because children performing at this stage are expected to 'use but confuse' long vowel patterns

'brak'--inconsistent because children at this stage are expected to represent long vowel sounds (although these may be incorrectly spelled).

The word 'braking' would be evaluated as follows:

'brakeing'--consistently spelled at Within-Word Pattern Stage because spellers at this level are not expected to correctly apply Syllable Juncture features (such as dropping -e to add vowel ending)

'braking'--inconsistent, because although the spelling is correct, the child is applying orthographic knowledge related to a multi-syllabic word.

Therefore, in the summary of each participant presented below, (b) and (d) above would be recorded as inconsistencies within the developmental stage theory of spelling for the child.

The spelling features being used to evaluate consistency within each stage of development are found in Table 1 presented earlier in this paper.

Developmental stage profile of the participants

(a) Matt

Current stage of performance

Based on the initial identification tools (Ganske, 1993; Bear et al., 1996) Matt was found to be spelling at the Within-Word Pattern Stage. Given the generally low scores found at this stage, he is considered to have recently entered the Within-Word Pattern Stage of development at the time this study was undertaken.

Review of Matt's spellings over the range of activities indicates that were 28 inconsistencies below his developmental stage and 3 inconsistencies above the Within-Word Pattern Stage, as shown below.

These inconsistencies are considered minimal when you consider 817 individual words were examined. Interestingly, where these inconsistencies are present it is across the spectrum of activities--relative to the number of words available for each type of activity.

Inconsistencies at a level above the Within-Word Stage of spelling development (being Matt's current working stage) are virtually non-existent. The three instances that were identified occurred in natural writing samples and involved doubling or dropping the final -e before adding a vowel ending. Importantly it was confirmed with the classroom teacher that the spelling rules associated with doubling and dropping the final -e had recently been introduced in the classroom and could account for these correct spellings. It is noted, however, that this Syllable Juncture Stage knowledge was applied incorrectly more times than it was evidenced as a correct spelling.

(b) Cathryn

Current stage of performance The initial assessment results indicated Cathryn was also performing at Within-Word Pattern Stage and her writing samples were analysed for consistency within that particular stage of development.

There were 23 inconsistencies evident in Cathryn's spellings that were below her current stage of development and 6 above. These inconsistencies are derived from all four activities under investigation, but they comprise a small percentage of the 858 words analysed.

Cathryn produced several more inconsistencies above her developmental stage than Matt. These words reflect some Syllable Juncture knowledge. Again, we must take account of the recent introduction of relevant spelling rules in the classroom, which would explain Cathryn's correct spelling of hopping, lining, shaking and hopped.

Again, the inconsistencies identified in Cathryn's spellings, both above and below the Within-Word Pattern Stage, are not substantial when consideration is taken of the total number of words examined from the four types of activities.

(c) Mina

Current stage of performance

Mina's initial assessment results clearly indicate that she has mastered the features of the Letter-Name Stage. The results also provided evidence that she has not yet developed the range of skills relating to the Syllable Juncture and Derivational Constancy Stages. Again, as with Matt and Cathryn, Mina has produced varied results at the Within-Word Pattern Stage of development. Her skills in several features of this stage were extremely strong, while others, such as r-controlled patterns, were less firm. This indicates the Within-Word Pattern Stage is her current developmental stage, but the instances of high performance at this stage indicate she is likely to have been engaged at this level for some time.

Mina displayed 20 inconsistencies below her developmental stage for various word features, such as consonant blends and short vowel sounds. However, as was found with Matt and Cathryn, considering the greater picture of all words examined, these inconsistencies are minimal. Only three words from her total sample of 1109 words were found to be spelled above her identified developmental spelling stage.

Mina's spelling performance clearly points towards consistency for someone working at the Within-Word Pattern Stage of spelling development.

(d) Max

Current stage of performance

Max performed confidently at the Letter-Name and Within-Word Pattern Stages during initial assessments and has clearly surpassed these levels of development. In contrast, the initial assessments provided no evidence that would support his performance at the Derivational Constancy Stage. His mixed performance at the Syllable Juncture Stage indicated this is his current level of performance.

We see for the fourth time during review of the children's developmental consistency, that the number of words spelt above or below the identified developmental stage is minimal given the total number of words reviewed. Indeed, only 26 inconsistent words out of the 982 words examined have been identified.

Max's performance in the five types of activities examined supports the notion that he demonstrates the skills expected of a Syllable Juncture speller with consistency.

(e) India

Current stage of performance

During India's initial assessments she exhibited mastery of the Letter-Name and Within-Word Pattern Stages, but her scores were not adequate to suggest she was working at the Derivational Constancy Stage. She was, therefore, identified at the Syllable Juncture Stage. The number of strong Syllable Juncture skills present would imply that India has been working at this level for an extended period and is likely to be approaching mastery.

The number of inconsistencies found outside India's developmental stage is even fewer than the other children examined thus far: a total of 22 inconsistencies of the 1083 words analysed. India clearly incorporates all skills from the previously mastered developmental stages to spell correctly in the majority of instances. Inconsistencies do exist across activities, but they do not substantially impact upon the total percentage of correctly spelled words that were reviewed.

The review of individual word features produced under five different types of spelling-activity experience demonstrates a high level of consistency for a child who has mastered the Letter-Name and Within-Word Pattern Stages and who is in the process of reaching proficiency with Syllable Juncture features.

(f) Eric

Current stage of performance

Eric's ability to apply features prescribed for the Letter-Name, Within-Word Pattern and Syllable Juncture Stages demonstrated command of these stages. The first indication of significant spelling difficulty arose when examining the features associated with the Derivational Constancy Stage and this has been identified as his current stage of spelling development.

Six inconsistencies within 1156 words are insignificant when consideration is taken of the accurate spellings presented in the five different types of activities. The specific word features spelled incorrectly in the instances of inconsistency were, at other times, spelled accurately by Eric and would be considered lapses in proficiency for reasons other than lack of orthographic knowledge and understanding.

From the evidence presented by the six children, each performs consistently within their developmental stage. When reviewing the performance of the children working at the more advanced stages of development, such as Eric, inconsistencies become even less apparent.

Discussion and conclusion

When taking into consideration the specific features of each stage of spelling development it was found that, across the range of activities presented, the children spelled words consistently within their identified developmental stage. Indeed, only 6 to 35 words out of the 817 to 1156 words analysed were spelled demonstrating spelling knowledge above or below that expected for the specific stage of development. It has also been found that children spell consistently across tasks, whether writing in context, revising or spelling words in isolation. These findings suggest that the developmental stage theory of spelling has sufficient flexibility and detail to describe children's spelling performance accurately and meaningfully.

Given the consistency within which these spellers were found to perform it is suggested that greater emphasis needs to be placed on carefully assessing each child to determine their current developmental stage of spelling. The two initial assessment tools used in this study (Ganske, 1993; Bear et al., 1996) have been extremely useful in this regard. Time devoted to spelling assessment could be better spent utilising tools such as these rather than norm-referenced tools (such as the South Australian Spelling Test) that are sometimes used as identification measures of spelling ability but provide little information about the specific strengths and weaknesses of individual children.

Error analysis has been a key approach to determining spelling performance and is an extremely useful measure. The results of this study would suggest, however, that we should also take note of correct spellings made by children above their expected level of development. By analysing correct spellings we may be able to uncover the source of success in spelling these words. For example, asking a child to explain his/her rationale for a correct spelling which demonstrates Derivational Constancy knowledge may reveal (a) an effective teaching episode, (b) effective use of an available spelling resource, or even (c) insights into the child's personally developed strategies for success. After uncovering this information we are then in a position to consciously incorporate the teaching approach, the resource, or the child's personal strategy into their spelling program to continue to build upon the child's emerging skills. For detailed analysis of the various cognitive strategies engaged by the children in this study see Young (in press).

Once the developmental stage of each child has been carefully established, children can be grouped accordingly. Each spelling program within the classroom should then be purposefully developed to:

* ensure mastery of each component within the current stage of spelling performance

* endeavour to progress each child's spelling knowledge toward the next developmental stage

* incorporate a range of purposefully constructed activities (such as the four utilised in this study) to enable children to generalise orthographic knowledge and understanding.

Also worthy of consideration in a developmental-focused spelling program is the possibility of educating children about the skills expected to be mastered at each stage. Raising a child's awareness of the specific spelling skills he/she already possesses and those that are being working toward (as outlined in Table 2) may be useful for some children in self-monitoring their spelling progress. Explicitly uncovering the characteristics of a child's developmental stage could assist in greater orthographic understanding and subsequently greater success in achieving mastery with each of the individual component skills relevant at each developmental stage.

The 'think aloud' research methodology was found to be very insightful in uncovering children's cognitive processes when spelling both known and unknown words. For further detail of the 'think aloud' process and associated data analysis procedures see Young (2005). Having children 'think aloud' while they engage in spelling-related activities is very useful in this regard and should also form part of children's spelling programs. Incorporating this strategy for both novice and expert spellers can be valuable in making instructional decisions. This method could also prove useful as a peer tutoring strategy whereby more competent spellers talk through their personal strategies and approaches to their less capable peers.

The developmental stage theory of spelling has been well established and a comprehensive body of literature exists outlining the skills and knowledge expected at each stage. There is also much written about the types of activities which support spelling development. Given the consistency which these children were found to spell within their identified spelling stage, greater investment needs to be made to identify current level of performance and then to program accordingly.


Bean, W. & Bouffler, C. (1987). Spell by Writing. PETA: Sydney.

Bear, D.R., Invernizzi, M., Templeton, S. & Johnson, F. (1996). Words Their Way: Word Study for Phonics, Vocabulary, and Spelling Instruction. Englewood Cliffs: Merrill.

Bear, D.R. & Templeton, S. (1998). Explorations in developmental spelling: Foundations for learning and teaching phonics, spelling and vocabulary. The Reading Teacher, 52(3), 222-242.

Bear, D.R., Truex, P. & Barone, D. (1989). In search of meaningful diagnosis: Spelling-by-stage assessment of literacy proficiency. Adult Literacy and Basic Education, 13(3), 165-185.

Beers, C.S. & Beers, J.W. (1992). Children's spelling of English inflectional morphology. In S. Templeton & D.R. Bear (Eds.). The Development of Orthographic Knowledge and the Foundations of Literacy. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 231-251.

Beers, J.W., Beers, C. & Grant, K. (1977). The logic behind children's spelling. Elementary School Journal, 77, 238-242.

Beers, J.W. & Henderson, E.H. (1977). A study of developing orthographic concepts among first grade children. Research in the Teaching of English, 11, 133-148.

Bissex, G.L. (1980). Gnys at Wrk: A Child Learns to Write and Read. Boston: Harvard University Press.

Chandler, K. & Mapleton Teacher-Research Group (2000). Squaring up to spelling: A teacher-research group surveys parents. Language Arts, 77(3), 224-231.

Ellis, N.C. (1994). Longitudinal studies of spelling acquisition. In G.D.A. Brown & N.C. Ellis (Eds.), Handbook of Spelling: Theory, Process and Intervention. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 155-178.

Ellis, N.C. (1997). Interactions in the development of reading and spelling: Stages, strategies, and exchange of knowledge. In C. Perfetti, L. Rieben and M. Fayol (Eds.), Learning to Spell: Research, Theory, and Practice Across Languages. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Ganske, K. (1993). Developmental Spelling Analysis--A Qualitative Measure for Assessment and Instructional Planning. Virginia: University of Virginia. Gentry, J.R. (1981). Learning to spell developmentally. The Reading Teacher. 34(4), 378-381.

Gentry, J.R. (1982). An analysis of development spelling in GYNS AT WRK. The Reading Teacher, 36(2), 192-200.

Gentry, J.R. (1984). Developmental aspects of learning to spell. Academic Therapy, 20(1), 11-19.

Gentry, J.R. (1987). Spel ... is a Four-letter Word. Gosford, NSW: Ashton Scholastic.

Gentry, J.R. & Gillet. J. (1993). Teaching Kids to Spell. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Henderson, E.H. (1990). Teaching Spelling (2nd ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Henderson, E.H. & Beers, J.W. (1980). Developmental and Cognitive Aspects of Learning to Spell: A Reflection of Word Knowledge. Delaware: International Reading Association.

Henderson, E.H & Templeton, S. (1986). A developmental perspective of formal spelling instruction through alphabet, pattern and meaning. The Elementary School Journal, 86(3), 305-316.

Lutz, E. (1986). ERIC/RCS Report: Invented Spelling and Spelling Development. Language Arts 63(7), 742-744.

New South Wales Department of Education and Training (1998). State Literacy Strategy: Teaching Spelling K-6. Sydney: NSW Department of Education.

Read, C. (1971). Pre-school children's knowledge of English phonology. Harvard Educational Review. 41(1), 1-34.

Templeton, S. & Bear, D.R. (1992). Development of Orthographic Knowledge and the Foundations of Literacy: A Memorial Festschrift for Edmund H. Henderson. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Templeton, S. & Scarborough-Franks, J. (1985). The spelling's the thing: Knowledge of derivational morphology in orthography and phonology among older students. Applied Psycholinguistics, 6(4), 371-390.

Young, K. (2005). Direct from the source: The value of 'think-aloud' data in understanding learning. Journal of Educational Enquiry, 6(1), 27-32.

Young, K. (in press). Don't just look, listen: Uncovering children's cognitive strategies during spelling related activities. Education 3-13.

Kirsty Young

Table 1. Overview of various developmental stages in spelling by key


1 Prephonetic Pre-
2 Early Semiphonetic Semiphonetic Letter-name-
 phonetic sound

3 Phonetic Phonetic Phonetic
4 Structural Transitional Morphemic Structural
5 Inflectional
6 Meaning/ Correct/ Derivational
 Derivational Conventional Patterns
7 Correct


1 Prephonetic Preliterate Preliterate/
2 Early Letter-Name Prephonetic/
 phonetic Semiphonetic

3 Phonetic Letter-names
4 Structural Within-word Within-word
 patterns patterns
5 Syllable Syllable
 juncture juncture
6 Meaning/ Derivational Derivational
 Derivational Constancy Constancy
7 Correct

Table 2. Summary of expected skills and characteristics at
each developmental stage of spelling.


Pre-Phonemic Stage
Individual letters used to represent
 syllables or whole words Y
Initial sound always represented N
Final sound always represented N
Vowel elements represented N

Letter-Name Stage
Short vowels written with
 predictable substitutions Y
Long vowels represented by
 closest letter name Y
'ed' endings spelled by sound Y
Consonant sounds generally consistent Y
All phonemes represented (although
 some may be unconventional) Y
Uses letter 'r' to represent r-controlled vowels Y
Affricates correct N
Pre-consonant nasals represented N
Long vowel markers represented N
Regard for acceptable English orthography N

Within-Word Pattern Stage
V-C-e pattern used Y
Highly frequent patterns correct (eg. 'ight') Y
Inflectional endings correct Y
Short vowel sounds correctly represented Y
Pre-consonant nasals represented Y
Vowel in every syllable Y
R-controlled vowel patterns
 represented (not always accurately) Y
Long vowels represented (not
 always accurately) Y
Complex consonant units accurately
 represented (eg. 'tch') N
Schwa sounds in unaccentuated syllables
 accurately represented N

Syllable Juncture Stage
Single syllables in words spelled correctly Y
Long vowel patterns applied to multi-syllabic words Y
R-controlled patterns applied to multi-syllabic words Y
Evidence of doubling rules when adding suffixes Y
Evidence of 'dropping e rules when adding suffixes Y
Vowel patterns in unstressed syllables accurately
 represented (eg. soler for solar) N

Derivational Constancy Stage
Mastery of two and three syllable words Y
Assimilated prefixes characterised by doubled
 consonants (eg. illiterate and irrelevant) Y
Root words represented in terms of meaning Y

Table 3. Developmental stage inconsistencies: Matt.

Words spelt at level below identified developmental stage

Developmental crwl (crawl) get (jet)
Spelling Lists brig (bridge) slide (slid)
(Ganske x 3) durm (drum) cwite (quite)
 feid (fed) floch (flock)
 grap (grape) punt (point)

Natural bach (back) torn (turn)
writing samples fale (fall) snacks (snakes)
 ate (at) pichd (picked)
 puping (pumping) tornd (turned)
 cutes (cuts) skalaten (skeleton)

Written hep (heap)
word sorting

Editing kepd (kept) handz (hands)
activities jumpt (jumped) gam (game)
 eithr (either) mixt (mixed)

Words spelt at level above identified developmental stage

spelling lists
(Ganske x3)

Natural sitting having
writing samples hitting

Word sort


Table 4. Developmental stage inconsistencies: Cathryn.

Words spelt at level below identified developmental stage

Spelling gran (grain) smilie (smile)

Lists (Ganske x 3) slid (slide) obsebe (observe)
 couth (couch) feed (fed)
 gite (quite) stode (stood)

Natural writing fiset (first) sare (share)
samples wat (what) felled (filled)
 skear (scare) antil (until)
 theree (three) beat (bet)
 wile (while) thow (through)
 cepe (kept)

Written therd (thread)
word sorting

Editing activities keept (kept) hikr (hiker)
 mixtt (mixed)

Words spelt at level above identified developmental stage

spelling lists
(Ganske x3)

Natural tomorrow lining
writing samples matter shaking
 hopping hopped

Word sort activities

Editing activities

Table 5. Developmental stage inconsistencies: Mina.

Words spelt at level below identified developmental stage

Developmental Spelling palece (palace) calw (crawl)
Lists (Ganske x 3) yarw (yawn) suffle (shuffle)
 panit (paint) smwing (swimming)

Natural quit (quite) kepd (kept)
writing samples thery (very) geat (great)
 spac (space) Cina (China)
 sald (sailed) measge (message)
 shote (short) sevisve (service)
 eskap (escape)

Written word sorting stov (stove) drema (dreamer)

Editing activities swuming

Words spelt at level above identified developmental stage

Developmental spelling
lists (Ganske x3)

Natural writing samples coming worried

Word sort activities

Editing activities sudden

Table 6. Developmental stage inconsistencies: Max.

Words spelt at level below identified developmental stage

Developmental coutch (couch) sluite (salute)
Spelling oueit (cute) compet (compete)
Lists yarwn (yawn)
(Ganske x 3)

Natural crounty (country) repired (repaired)
writing samples prehaps (perhaps) meting (meeting)
 where (were) wached (watched)
 thisty (thirsty) worried (worried)
 anther (another) apon (upon)
 cunck (chunk) suddnly (suddenly)
 heared (heard) anoter (another)

Written steem (stem)
word sorting

Editing activities eithr (either) scrached (scratched)

Derivational edmire (admire) consunstion
constancy qusuime (consume) (consumption)
spelling list

Words spelt at level above identified developmental stage

spelling lists
(Ganske x3)

writing samples

Word sort performance


Table 7. Developmental stage inconsistencies: India.
Words spelt at level below identified developmental stage

Developmental cluch (clutch) place (palace)
Spelling Lists queit (cute) coutch (couch)
(Ganske x 3)

Natural bload (blood) uncunftable
writing vegetariane (uncomfortable)
samples foud (found) hurd (herd)
 untell (until) sended (sent)
 creid (cried) exept (exept)

word sorting

Editing scrached (scratched) kepd (kept)
activities banage (bandage) parnts (parents)

Derivational edmire (admire) conbine (combine)
constancy irruption (eruption) cunsumption
spelling list (consumption)

Words spelt at level above identified developmental stage

(Ganske x3)

Natural writing

Word sort


Derivational revise/revision
spelling list

Table 8. Developmental stage inconsistencies: Eric.

Words spelt at level below identified developmental stage

Developmental mino (minnow) timeley (timely)
Spelling likable (likeable)
(Ganske x 3)

Natural writing triped (tripped)

Written safety (safety)
word sorting

Editing scrached
activities (scratched)

Words spelt at level above identified developmental stage

Developmental n/a
spelling lists
(Ganske x3)

Natural n/a
writing samples

Word sort n/a

Editing n/a

Table 9. Collective-case summary.

Participant Identified Stage No. words No. of
 examined inconsistencies

Matt Early Within-Word 817 31

Cathryn Within-Word Pattern 858 29

Mina Within-Word Pattern 1109 20

Max Syllable Juncture 982 26

India Later Syllable 1083 22

Eric Derivational 1156 6
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Author:Young, Kirsty
Publication:Australian Journal of Language and Literacy
Date:Oct 1, 2007
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