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Spelling-related teacher knowledge: the impact of professional development on identifying appropriate instructional activities.

Abstract. Informed instruction that adjusts content, materials, or intensity to student needs is critical for students with learning disabilities. Informed literacy instruction requires teachers to have thorough knowledge of literacy-related content, which includes phonemes, syllables, and morphemes. The current study investigated whether teachers who possess this knowledge are better able to identify student needs and appropriate instructional spelling activities than teachers who do not possess this knowledge. In Study 1, 36 preservice teachers and 38 inservice teachers completed measures to evaluate their literacy-related content knowledge and ability to identify appropriate spelling activities. Overall, the inservice teachers demonstrated greater knowledge and were better able to identify appropriate instructional activities than the preservice teachers. In Study 2, the knowledge of 196 inservice teachers completing varying numbers of hours of professional development was analyzed to determine the effects of professional development on literacy-related content knowledge and ability to identify appropriate activities. Generally, greater teacher knowledge and identification of appropiate activities were related to the number of hours of professional development completed.

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In recent years, there has been growing research interest in teachers' literacy-related content knowledge and practices (e.g., Cunningham, Perry, Stanovich, & Stanovich, 2004; Piasta, Connor, Fishman, & Morrison, 2009). The reason for this increased interest is succinctly encapsulated in a statement by the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future: "What teachers know and can do is one of the most important influences on what students learn" (as cited in Darling-Hammond, 1998, p. 6).

Unfortunately, even though teacher knowledge and practices are important influences in children's learning to read and spell, many teachers do not have sufficient knowledge to make informed instructional decisions (e.g., Bos, Mather, Dickson, Podhajski, & Chard, 2001; McCutchen, Harry, et al., 2002; Moats, 1994a). Many teachers have not received comprehensive preservice training on how to teach reading and spelling, and inservice training is rarely more comprehensive than preservice training (cf. Joshi et al., 2009; McCutchen & Beminger, 1999; Moats & Lyon, 1996). Additionally, only within the past decade has a body of converging scientific evidence on teacher knowledge and instructional practices been amassed and intently disseminated (e.g., National Reading Panel [NRP], 2000).

Teacher Literacy-Related Content Knowledge

Some recent studies (e.g., Cunningham et al., 2004; Spear-Swerling, 2009) have looked at levels of teacher literacy-related content knowledge, specifically English language structures, such as phonemes, affixes, and orthographic patterns. Other studies (e.g., McCutchen, Abbott, & Green, 2002; Moats & Foorman, 2003; Piasta et al., 2009; Spear-Swerling & Brucker, 2004) have examined levels of teacher literacy-related content knowledge and changes in teacher practices and student achievement as a result of increased teacher knowledge.

Findings show that increased literacy-related content knowledge facilitates teachers' interpretation of assessments, selection of appropriate words for reading and spelling instruction, analysis of reading and spelling errors, and constructive feedback to students' errors (Moats, 1994a; Spear-Swerling, 2009). In other words, informed teachers are more sensitive to the learning needs of individual students, particularly students with learning disabilities in reading and writing. This is important, because students learn best when instruction is proximate to their particular stage in learning to read and spell (Brady & Moats, 1997), and informed teachers can make appropriate adjustments to instruction based on student needs.

Moats' (1994a) landmark survey of 89 inservice teachers heightened interest in the literacy-related content knowledge of teachers. Overall, the inservice teachers in Moats' study showed insufficient knowledge of spoken and written language structures, information that is necessary to explicitly teach beginning readers or readers with learning disabilities. Moats suggested that without this knowledge, teachers cannot interpret and respond effectively to student errors and integrate important literacy components into language arts instruction. The inservice teachers' lack of literacy-related content knowledge, Moats surmised, stemmed from a lack of adequate preparation as well as the teachers' underdeveloped linguistic awareness and an inherent bias to think of words in written instead of spoken form.

Subsequent studies have confirmed that inservice teachers with varying degrees of preparation and experience lack adequate knowledge of phonology and English language structures (e.g., Bos et al., 2001; Cunningham et al., 2004). Most recently, Piasta et al. (2009) examined the literacy-related content knowledge of 42 first-grade teachers and the impact of literacy-related content knowledge on student growth in word reading. The students of teachers with knowledge at or above the 75th percentile who consistently taught decoding made greater gains than students who were consistently taught decoding by teachers with knowledge at or below the 25th percentile. Therefore, student gains were the result of an interaction between teacher knowledge and instructional practices.

Student Spelling Errors and Informed Instruction

A teacher with adequate literacy-related content knowledge can provide informed and effective reading instruction (Piasta et al., 2009). The same knowledge aids teachers in understanding students' nonconventional spellings (i.e., invented spellings or errors) and designing the most appropriate spelling instruction (Bear & Templeton, 1998). Analyzing students' spellings is proposed to help the teacher evaluate students' understanding of sounds and letters and to direct the teacher in prescribing specific instruction to meet students' needs (Moats, 2000; Treiman, 1998). To analyze students' spellings, the teacher must be aware of the constituent sounds within words. With this knowledge, the teacher can determine whether a student's spelling, although erroneous, demonstrates that the student at least is detecting all the sounds in the target word. For example, the spelling of the word flame as flare demonstrates that the student has detected each sound in the word. On the other hand, the spelling flame as faro does not demonstrate the same awareness of sounds. The latter spelling indicates that instruction should be adjusted to include practice in segmenting words with three or four phonemes.

In order to assess the spellings of longer words and derivatives, the teacher must also understand the structures within words, such as syllables, prefixes, and suffixes. For example, a student's awareness of suffixes, specifically inflectional endings, is reflected in the spelling of the word matched as mached, but not in the spelling macht. The latter spelling suggests that instruction should be adjusted to include (a) the explicit instruction in how to spell the inflectional ending -ed (i.e., use -ed to spell final/t/after a base word); and (b) opportunities to spell contrast words, such as just and jumped, where if the deletion of final/t/produces a base word,/t/is spelled -ed.

Lyon, Shaywitz, and Shaywitz (2003) defined dyslexia as "one of several distinct learning disabilities" (p. 9). The authors further stated that as a language-based disorder, dyslexia may manifest as "in addition to problems in reading, a conspicuous problem with acquiring proficiency in writing and spelling" (p. 9). A student with a learning disability such as dyslexia may have difficulty with spelling because of a core deficit in phonological processing. Literacy-related content knowledge is important for teachers of all students, especially students with dyslexia or other language-based learning disabilities.

Informed literacy instruction takes advantage of a student's errors to design the most appropriate instruction for the student. A student's spelling errors provide visible representations that are especially telling of what he or she knows or does not know and would seem to be an excellent vehicle for designing informed instruction. Informed instruction requires that teachers have solid knowledge of phonemes and language structures because, as Moats (2000) suggested, "the teacher who understands language will understand why students say and write the puzzling things that they do and will be able to judge what a particular student knows and needs to know about the printed word" (p. 1). With informed instruction, students with dyslexia and other learning disabilities can improve their decoding skills, but the mastery of spelling is more tenacious (Moats, 1994b).

The purpose of the current paper is to present the results of two studies. Study 1 investigated the literacy-related content knowledge of preservice and inservice teachers and the impact of their knowledge on their ability to identify appropriate instructional activities based on student spelling errors. The research questions for Study 1 were: (a) Do preservice and inservice teachers differ in their literacy-related content knowledge? (b) Does this knowledge inform instructional decisions?

Study 2 investigated the literacy-related content knowledge of inservice teachers completing varying numbers of hours of professional development focused on research-based literacy instruction. The research question for Study 2 was: To what degree does professional development increase teachers' literacy-related content knowledge and the ability to identify appropriate instructional activities?

STUDY 1

Participants and Setting

Participants

Participants included 36 preservice teachers who were completing a three-credit-hour reading course at a university and 38 inservice teachers with diverse teaching experience in general and special education classrooms who were attending a daylong workshop on early literacy acquisition. The inservice teachers' years of experience ranged from 3 to 20+ years. On a survey, inservice teachers noted that they had not received specific, intensive professional development associated with literacy-related content knowledge and research-based literacy instruction other than some professional development on implementation of the basal reading or literature-based programs used in their schools. All participants were female; English was their native language.

Methods and Materials

Study Design

The participants completed measures to assess (a) their knowledge of phonemes, syllables, and morphemes; and (b) their ability to identify appropriate instructional activities based on student spelling errors. The participants completed the measures within 45 minutes. The inservice teachers completed the measures before commencement of the daylong workshop. Preservice teachers completed the measures as part of their coursework.

Measurements

Knowledge of phonemes, syllables, and morphemes. The participants' phonemic awareness was assessed through the counting of phonemes in 10 words (e.g., shop has three phonemes; block has four phonemes; string has five phonemes). Their knowledge of syllables and morphemes was assessed through the counting of syllables and morphemes in 10 additional words each, for a total of 30 items. The aggregated score reliability on all three measures was .78 (Cronbach's alpha).

Identifying appropriate instructional activities. Participants completed the Spelling Instruction Assessment (SIA; Carreker, 2007), which is presented in Appendix A. The SIA measures proficiency in identifying a student's underlying difficulty with spelling and the most appropriate instructional activity for remediation of that difficulty. To create the measure, samples of common errors of spellers with learning disabilities were gathered from existing progress monitors (e.g., hv for have; efant for elephant; rip for rib). Errors were grouped by underlying difficulties (e.g., student does not detect all the sounds or student does not discriminate similar sounds). Then, a list of possible instructional activities was created. All the activities could improve spelling proficiency, but only one activity would be the most appropriate activity to address the specific underlying spelling difficulty exemplified by the errors.

Participants matched the most appropriate activity based on the nature of the spelling errors. For example, spelling errors "gv for give, np for nap, and d for deep" matched "have student segment three- and fourphoneme words, moving a counter for each phoneme." The measure consisted of 12 items. Reliability of scores on the measure was .64 (Cronbach's alpha).

Results

All raw data from the measures were converted to T scores. Table 1 presents the descriptive statistics. A MANOVA indicated that inservice teachers outperformed preservice teachers on counting phonemes and morphemes, and on identifying instructional activities, [F.sub.1, 72] = 6.791, p = < .01, [[eta].sup.2] = .086; F1,72 = 12.36, p = < .001, [[eta].sup.2] = .23; and [F.sub.1, 72] = 18.765, p = < .001, [[eta].sup.2] = .20, respectively. No statistically significant differences were found on syllable counting.

Five percent of inservice teachers correctly counted the phonemes in all 10 words. No preservice teachers correctly counted the phonemes in all 10 words. Table 2 presents the words used for phoneme counting and the percentages of teachers correctly counting phonemes in each individual word. Both inservice and preservice teachers miscounted words with blends. Only 22% of the inservice teachers and 8% of the preservice teachers identified the word string as having five phonemes. The most frequent incorrect responses were three and four phonemes. Both groups made fewer mistakes counting phonemes in words that contained digraphs, such as th and ee in the word teeth.

Forty-seven percent of inservice teachers correctly counted the syllables in all 10 words, compared to 33% of preservice teachers. Table 3 presents the words used for syllable and morpheme counting and the percentages of teachers correctly counting syllables and morphemes in each word. In terms of syllable counting, frequent incorrect responses of inservice teachers were three syllables for happened and inhaled and two syllables for jumped. Although many preservice teachers miscounted the syllables in the words happened and inhaled, 97% of preservice teachers correctly counted the syllables in jumped.

Only 2.6% of inservice teachers correctly counted the morphemes in all 10 words. For preservice teachers, the corresponding percentage was 2.8. Both groups of teachers made the most errors in counting the number of morphemes in salamander and supervisor.

Twenty-five percent of preservice teachers correctly answered more than half of the 12 items on the SIA. Although the inservice teachers outperformed the preservice teachers, only 50% of inservice teachers answered more than half the items correctly. No obvious error patterns for either group emerged. The most frequent choice of instructional activities was "Have student close his or her eyes and make a visual image of the word," which has not been proven to be a successful strategy for improving underlying difficulties with spelling (Joshi, Treiman, Carreker, & Moats, 2008/2009) and was not a viable answer for the purposes of the measure.

Discussion

It has been well documented that to become skilled readers, students must understand that spoken words are made up of phonemes (NRP, 2000; Stanovich, 1986). Facility with phonemes is particularly important for students with learning disabilities in reading and writing. To become proficient spellers, students must count or identify phonemes in spoken words, so they can match those phonemes to frequently recurring orthographic patterns (Moats, 1994a).

Teachers who are skilled in phonemic awareness can heighten students' awareness of phonemes in words and facilitate students' subsequent assignment of orthographic patterns to those phonemes. However, although the inservice teachers outperformed the preservice teachers in counting phonemes in the current study, neither the preservice nor the inservice teachers demonstrated thorough knowledge of phonemes.

Only 10% of inservice teachers and 19% of preservice teachers could identify the word fix as having four phonemes. The common incorrect response was three phonemes. Most likely, the letter x in fix was thought to represent one phoneme; in reality, x represents the phonemes /k/ and /s/. This error confirmed Moats' (1994a) finding that inservice teachers think of words in terms of their written forms and not in their spoken forms. Spear-Swerling (2009) also found the same orthographic bias in preservice teachers.

No statistically significant difference was found in teacher performance on syllable counting, which is one of the earliest phonological skills that young children acquire (Adams, 1990). Syllable counting was included as a measure because detecting the number of syllables in a word can influence the spelling of a sound (e.g., final/k/in a word of two or more syllables is spelled c as in music or lilac vs. ck in a one-syllable word such as sick and lack). Additionally, syllable counting can provide further evidence of teachers' orthographic bias (Moats, 1994a; Spear-Swerling, 2009).

The errors in counting the syllables in happened and inhaled reflected bias toward the way words are written. It would seem that the orthography could have influenced the teachers' understanding of the phonological structures of the words (Ehri & Wilce, 1980). For example, the most frequent incorrect response for happened and inhaled was three syllables, which matched the number of vowels seen in the words, and the most frequent incorrect response for inservice teachers for jumped was two syllables, which matched the number of vowels seen in the word. The teachers' inflexibility in thinking about spoken words as being different from written words demonstrated their less-than-thorough literacy-related content knowledge. When teachers are flexible in thinking about words, they are better able to determine what students, particularly students with learning disabilities, know and what they need to know (Moats, 2000).

Neither the inservice nor the preservice teachers demonstrated thorough knowledge of morphemes. A common mistake for both groups was miscounting two morphemes in the word salamander. There was much less confusion over the word kangaroo, which also has one morpheme but does not have letters at the end that look like a suffix (i.e., er). Many teachers also miscounted two morphemes in supervisor. Most likely, this error demonstrated their lack of knowledge of morphemes, such as super (above, over), vis (to see), and or (one who). Although many inservice teachers incorrectly counted the syllables in happened, inhaled, and jumped, they had less difficulty counting the morphemes in these words. Proficiency in morphemes and other areas of literacyrelated content knowledge is important because teachers with thorough knowledge in these areas teach well (McCutchen & Berninger, 1999).

The premise that greater teacher knowledge would result in better performance on the SIA was supported by the results of the MANOVA analysis. The inservice teachers possessed greater knowledge and outperformed the preservice teachers on the SIA. However, the inservice teachers were not thoroughly proficient in literacy-related content knowledge. This finding leads to the following questions: Can teacher knowledge be increased though professional development? If so, how much professional development is needed to make teachers thoroughly proficient in this knowledge?

STUDY 2

Participants and Setting

Participants

Study 2 investigated the effects of professional development on teacher literacy-related content knowledge and ability to identify appropriate instructional activities. The participants included the 38 inservice teachers from Study 1, who reported no intensive professional development on research-based literacy instruction. The study also included 158 additional inservice teachers, who attended varying numbers of hours of professional development sessions on research-based literacy instruction. Fifty-six of these teachers were general education teachers who attended 30 continuous hours only. The remaining teachers were all special education or dyslexia teachers. Sixty-six of these teachers attended 60 continuous hours only; the remaining 36 attended a total of 120 hours. The last group of teachers (a) attended a 60-hour session one summer, (b) taught for one school year using the information learned in the session, and (c) then attended an additional 60-hour session the following summer. During the year of instruction, the teachers were observed by the professional development instructors, who also offered specific feedback. All participants were female. English was their native language. Teachers' years of experience ranged from 3 to 20+ years.

Methods and Materials

Professional Development Sessions

All the professional development sessions focused on explicit and systematic research-based literacy instruction. The same instructors conducted all sessions. In the 30-hour professional development session, general education teachers were introduced to phonological and phonemic awareness; an overview of the structure of English (e.g., frequently recurring reading and spelling patterns, six syllable types, four syllable division patterns, and Anglo-Saxon affixes); as well as oral language and listening and reading comprehension strategies. The professional development session was designed to provide information to supplement standard reading instruction.

In the 60-hour session, special education and dyslexia teachers were introduced to the same information and strategies as those in the 30-hour session, but not in as much detail. Instead, more instructional time was devoted to practical applications of information and strategies. The professional development was designed to provide teachers working with students with learning disabilities the beginning of a comprehensive reading program.

Finally, teachers within the 120 hours of professional development group were special education and dyslexia teachers who attended two 60-hour sessions and taught for an entire school year between the sessions. Teachers were introduced to more advanced information about the structure of English and participated in additional practica.

Study Design

The teachers in this study completed the same measures as those used in Study 1. Table 4 presents the descriptive statistics for the teachers in Study 2. With the exception of the inservice teachers from Study 1, teachers completed each measure only one time, at the end of the total number of hours (i.e., 30, 60, or 120 hours). The measures were completed within 45 minutes. The scores on the phoneme, syllable, and morpheme measures were aggregated to arrive at a teacher's total literacy-related content knowledge. The score reliability of the three measures was .791 (Cronbach's alpha). The score reliability of the SIA was .71 (Cronbach's alpha).

Results

All raw data were converted to T scores. An ANOVA with a post hoc Scheffe was conducted to compare the knowledge of teachers who completed varying numbers of hours of professional development, from 0 to 120 hours. Teachers with the highest number of hours of professional development (i.e., 120 hours) outperformed all groups on all variables except syllables. Table 5 presents the average percentages of correct responses for each group on the four variables (i.e., phonemes, syllables, morphemes, and identifying activities).

Statistically significant differences, [F.sub.3, 195] = 24.62, p = .0001, [[eta].sup.2] = .275, were found between the total knowledge of teachers with no hours of professional development and teachers with some hours of professional development: teachers with (a) 30 hours (p < .002); (b) 60 hours (p < .0001); and (c) 120 hours (p < .0001). However, there was no statistically significant difference between teachers who had completed 30 hours of professional development compared to those with 60 hours (p < .165). Nonetheless, there was a statistically significant difference (p < .001) between the knowledge of teachers with 30 hours of professional development and teachers with 120 hours (p < .0001), as well as between teachers with 60 hours and teachers with 120 hours (p < .015).

In Study 1, there were no words for which the teachers correctly counted all phonemes. In Study 2, teachers with 30 hours of professional development were able to count the phonemes in only one word (block) correctly. Teachers with 60 hours of professional development correctly counted the phonemes in five words (trim, jump, last, shop, teeth), whereas teachers with 120 hours of professional development were able to count the phonemes in 6 out of 10 words (trim, jump, last, teeth, block, church) correctly.

In each group in Study 2, teachers miscounted syllables in words with inflectional ending -ed. Only 69% of teachers with 120 hours correctly counted the number of syllables in inhaled compared to 64% of teachers with 60 hours, 68% of teachers with 30 hours, and 68% of teachers with 0 hours. Additionally, 75% of the teachers with 120 hours of professional development correctly counted the number of syllables in the word jumped compared to 57% of the teachers with 60 hours, 68% of the teachers with 30 hours, and 59% of teachers with 0 hours of professional development. As in Study 1, the teachers who attended the professional development sessions overcounted the number of syllables in these words.

Teachers in each group miscounted morphemes in words with the inflectional ending -ed. Only 61% of teachers with 120 hours correctly counted the number of morphemes in inhaled compared to 54% of teachers with 60 hours, 51% of teachers with 30 hours, and 82% of teachers with 0 hours. Less than 45% of teachers in all groups in Study 2 were able to identify the number of morphemes in supervisor correctly. Most teachers identified only two morphemes in this word.

No teachers with 0 or 30 hours of professional development achieved 100% in identifying the most appropriate instructional activities on the SIA. Among teachers with 60 hours of professional development, only two were able to identify all the appropriate activities correctly. Ten teachers with 120 hours of professional development were able to identify all activities correctly.

To further address the research question for Study 2, multiple-regression analyses were conducted to determine what specific knowledge predicted teachers' ability to identify appropriate instructional activities. Table 6 presents the results of the regression analyses.

Phoneme, syllable, and morpheme counting were used as independent variables to predict the outcomes on the SIA. For teachers with less than 120 hours of professional development, literacy-related content knowledge modestly accounted for their performance on the SIA, from 19% to 30%. Phoneme counting predicted the performance of teachers with 0 hours, morpheme counting predicted performance of teachers with 30 hours, and syllable counting predicted the performance of teachers with 60 hours. Both phoneme and morpheme counting robustly predicted (R2 = .578) the performance of teachers with 120 hours. (The teachers with 120 hours had taught the information for a year and were mentored by the professional development instructors.)

DISCUSSION

The two studies demonstrated that teacher literacy-related content knowledge influenced teachers' ability to identify the most appropriate spelling instructional activities based on student spelling errors. Thus, they provide support for the assertion that teacher knowledge informs instruction. The first step in designing instruction to improve students' spelling skills is to identify student needs and match them to instructional activities. The SIA required teachers to think about the underlying difficulties exemplified by student spelling errors and choose the most appropriate activities to address the difficulties. The spelling errors on the SIA represented underlying difficulties in phonology, morphology, and orthography. The teachers in both studies with the greatest knowledge about phonemes, syllables, and morphemes were better able to identify the most appropriate activities. If teachers can identify needs and appropriate activities, it follows that they probably will be better able to identify student needs and design the actual activities to meet those needs.

All teachers of reading should have thorough knowledge of the phonemes, syllables, and morphemes, so they can provide the most appropriate reading instruction (Moats, 1994a). Knowledge of word structures is particularly important for teachers of students with learning disabilities in reading and writing, who typically have difficulties in learning to decode and spell (Moats, 1994a; Spear-Swerling, 2009).

With the advent of Response to Intervention (RTI), special education teachers are not the only teachers who require this knowledge, however. In an RTI classroom, general education teachers also need thorough literacy-related content knowledge, because they are first in line to identify and instruct students who may have learning disabilities. Literacy-related content knowledge assists teachers in determining student needs and adjusting instruction to meet those needs (Moats, 1994a), as demonstrated in the current paper.

The results of the two studies support findings from previous studies. For example, there were gaps in the teachers' understanding of word structures (e.g., Bos et al., 2001; Cunningham et al., 2004; McCutchen, Harry, et al., 2002; Moats, 1994a). The general and special education or dyslexia teachers in both studies did not have thorough knowledge of phonemes, syllables, and morphemes. Because the teachers lacked thorough knowledge of word structures, the orthography of words overly influenced teachers' understandings of the phonological and phonemic structures of words (Ehri & Wilce, 1980).

However, when teachers are provided with explicit instruction on literacy-related content, their knowledge of word structures is increased (e.g., McCutchen, Abbott, & Green, 2002; Al Otaiba & Lake, 2007; Spear-Swerling, 2009). In Study 2, 30+ hours of the professional development increased teacher knowledge over no professional development. Although some professional development was better than no professional development in research-based literacy instruction, the teachers with the greatest knowledge had 120 hours of ongoing professional development with mentored teaching.

Limitations

One limitation of the studies reported on here is that student outcomes were not tied to teacher knowledge. Piasta et al. (2009) correlated teacher knowledge and student outcomes and found that teachers' literacy-related content knowledge and instructional practices positively impacted students' word reading skills, regardless of the core curricula or the teachers' level of education and years of experience. Study 2 demonstrated that with additional professional development, teachers' knowledge and ability to identify the most appropriate instructional activities improved. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to assume that greater literacy-related content knowledge informs instructional practices that would positively impact student outcomes in learning to read and spell. However, without actual student outcome data, it is difficult to determine the level and content of teacher knowledge needed to improve student learning and the amount of professional development that results in that requisite knowledge.

A second limitation was the moderate score reliability of the SIA in Study 1 (Cronbach's alpha = .64). The score reliability is most likely reflective of the brevity of the SIA and the distribution of the sample (Brown, 1996), which showed little variation. Cronbach's alpha for Study 2, while still moderate, did improve (.71) with a larger and more varied sample. Adding items to the SIA would help to improve its score reliability for future studies.

Implications

One implication of the current studies is that it is critical to provide all inservice general, special education, and dyslexia teachers with professional development and mentored teaching to augment their literacy-related content knowledge. The preservice teachers in Study 1 possessed the least literacy-related content knowledge. Therefore, a second implication of the current paper supports other studies (e.g., Joshi et al., 2009; Moats, 1994a; Spear-Swerling, 2009). Preservice teacher preparation programs should include information about effective literacy-related content knowledge as well as provide adequate real-world application of that knowledge (Al Otaiba, 2005).

A concern from the Study 2 data is that although the teachers with 120 hours of professional development and a year of mentored teaching outperformed the other teachers, not all the teachers with 120 hours were able to count all phonemes, syllables, and morphemes correctly in the target words. These findings may indicate the depth of the professional development that is required for teachers to be thoroughly knowledgeable about word structures. The data should be used to evaluate the content of the professional development sessions and other ways to improve teacher knowledge of word structures. The teachers in both studies were only posttested. In future studies, pre- and posttesting would give a better picture of the gains made after each professional development session.

APPENDIX A SPELLING INSTRUCTION ASSESSMENT

In the left-hand column are examples of errors that a student consistently makes when writing. In the right-hand column are specific activities. Although all the activities could improve spelling, match the errors with the best activity to remediate the underlying difficulty that has led to the student's particular spelling errors. Before choosing an answer, determine why the student is misspelling the words. Write the appropriate letter on the line. Write only one letter on each line. You will use some letters more than once. There may be a letter or letters that will not be used.

1. gv for give, np for nap, d for deep--(H)--

2. baskt for basket, trombn for trombone, suprm for supreme--(G)--

3. hin for him, samwich for sandwich, canp for camp, imto for into--(B)--

4. sep for step, back for black, sip for slip--(F)--

5. kook for cook, kamp for camp, kut for cut--(A)--

6. wint for went, het for hit, lig for leg, nist for nest --(B)--

7. sp for sip, mn for man, ht for hit, c for seed--(H)--

8. interst for interest, uwearns for awareness, fantact for fantastic--(G)--

9. sede for seed, nead for need, swiet for sweet--(A)--

10. dib for dip, sad for sat, shruk for shrug __(E)__

11. lookt for looked, churchez for churches, campen for camping--(C)--

12. cuffor cuff kis for kiss, hil for hill--(A)--

A. Teach student a specific spelling pattern or rule to help student spell words correctly.

B. Have student use a mirror to help him or her spell words.

C. Teach student inflectional endings.

D. Have student trace and copy words five times.

E. Have student place two fingers on his or her vocal cords to help student spell words correctly.

F. Prepare a deck with blends. Student reads the blend on each card and gives the sounds of the blends, moving a counter for each sound in the blend.

G. Engage student in practices such as, "Say contest without con," or "Say hamburger without bur."

H. Have student segment three- and four-phoneme words, moving a counter for each sound.

I. Have student close his or her eyes and make a visual image of the words.

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Please address correspondence about this article to: Suzanne Carreker, Neuhaus Education Center, 4433 Bissonnet, Bellaire, TX 77401; e-mail: scarreker@neuhaus.org

SUZANNE CARREKER, M.S., CALT-QI, Neuhaus Education Center, Bellaire, Texas. R. MALATESHA JOSHI, Ph.D., Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas. REGINA BOUL WARE-GOODEN, Ph.D., Neuhaus Education Center, Bellaire, Texas.
Table 1
Means and Standard Deviations for Inservice and Preservice Teachers

                           Inservice            Preservice
                          Teachers (a)         Teachers (b)

                           M        (SD)       M       (SD)

Phonemes               53.64 *     (9.64)    47.09     (9.54)
Syllables              52.17       (7.63)    47.78     (1.81)
Morphemes              54.65 **    (6.23)    44.97    (11.05)
Choosing activities    51.25 **    (9.45)    38.49    (11.46)

(a) n = 38; (b) n = 36; * p <.01, ** p <.001; a .05
level of significance was used.

Table 2
Percentages of Teachers Correctly Counting Phonemes in
Individual Words

                      Inservice             Preservice
                    Teachers (a)           Teachers (b)

 1. trim (4)             51%                   44%
 2. jump (4)             76%                   56%
 3. last (4)             68%                   50%
 4. brush (4)            39%                   33%
 5. string (5)           22%                    8%
 6. shop (3)             80%                   75%
 7. teeth (3)            95%                   94%
 8. block (4)            56%                   44%
 9. church (3)           76%                   72%
10. fix (4)              10%                   19%

(a) n = 38; (b) n = 36;

Note. 5% of inservice teachers correctly counted the phonemes in
all 10 words; no preservice teachers correctly counted the
phonemes in all 10 words.

Table 3
Percentages o f Teachers Correctly Counting Syllables/Morphemes
in Individual Words

                        Inservice Teachers (a)  Preservice Teachers (b)

                        Syllables   Morphemes   Syllables    Morphemes

 1. keeper (2/2)           98%         98%         86%          64%
 2. phonology (4/2)        90%         71%         78%          67%
 3. salamander (4/1)      100%         17%         94%          25%
 4. projector (3/3)       100%         80%         97%          36%
 5. rattlesnake (3/2)      95%         88%         78%          75%
 6. kangaroo (3/1)        100%         56%         97%          61%
 7. jumped (1/2)           59%         98%         97%          69%
 8. happened (2/2)         56%         76%         47%          64%
 9. inhaled (2/3)          68%         82%         64%          33%
10. supervisor (4/3)       95%         37%         78%          16%

(a) n = 38; (b) n = 36.

Note. 47% of inservice teachers and 33% of preservice teachers
correctly counted the syllables in all 10 words; 2.6% of
inservice teachers and  2.8% of preservice teachers correctly
counted the morphemes in all 10 words.

Table 4
Means and Standard Deviations for Teachers with No Specific
Professional Development or Completing Varying Numbers o f Hours
of Professional Development on Research-Based Literacy
Instruction

                             0 Hour (a)        30 Houur (b)

                            M       (SD)       M       (SD)

Phonemes                  53.64     (9.64)   49.51     (6.06)
Syllables                 52.17     (7.63)   52.33     (7.62)
Morphemes                 54.65     (6.23)   47.30    (10.95)
Identifying activities    51.25     (9.45)   47.53     (9.65)

                            60 Hours (c)       120 Hour (d)

                            M       (SD)       M       (SD)

Phonemes                  51.99     (7.26)   55.61     (3.78)
Syllables                 51.80     (7.45)   52.05     (7.79)
Morphemes                 49.50    (10.04)   55.54     (9.41)
Identifying activities    51.76     (7.72)   58.64     (6.42)

(a) n = 38; (b) n = 56; (c) n = 66; (d) n = 36.

Note. A designation of zero hours means that teachers had no
intensive professional development related to specific literacy-
related content  knowledge.

Table 5
Average Percentages of Correct Responses for Each Group
on Each Variable

                           0 Hour (a)     30 Hours (b)

Phonemes                     57.30%          85.50%
Syllables                    86.10%          90.40%
Morphemes                    70.20%          64.50%
Identifying activities       54.50%          63.66%

                          60 Hours (c)    120 Hours (d)

Phonemes                     90.50%          96.90%
Syllables                    89.70%          89.70%
Morphemes                    68.80%          81.70%
Identifying activities       72.33%          86.33%

(a) n = 38; (b) n = 56; (c) n = 66; (d) n = 36.

Note. A designation of zero hours means that teachers had no
intensive professional development related to specific literacy-
related content  knowledge.

Table 6
Regression Analyses o f Inservice Teacher Knowledge in Study 2

Variable                B      SE B     [beta]

0 hours (n = 38)
  Phonemes            .473     .192     .447 *
  Syllables           .190     .420     .070
  Morphemes           .012     .180     .012
30 hours (n = 56)
  Phonemes            .153     .278     .072
  Syllables           .307     .209     .194
  Morphemes           .380     .140     .345 **
60 hours (n = 66)
  Phonemes            .292     .309     .179
  Syllables           .470     .226     .360 *
  Morphemes           .281     .147     .362
120 hours (n = 36)
  Phonemes            .558     .224     .423 *
  Syllables           .145     .170     .213
  Morphemes           .267     .130     .275 *

Note. 0 hours [R.sup.2] = .222; 30 hours [R.sup.2] = .188; 60
hours [R.sup.2] = .295; 120 hours [R.sup.2] = .578. B =
unstandardized beta weight; SE [beta] = standard error of B;
[beta] = standardized beta weight.

* p < .05; ** p < .01.
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Author:Carreker, Suzanne; Joshi, R. Malatesha; Boulware-Gooden, Regina
Publication:Learning Disability Quarterly
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 22, 2010
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