The following is a short video of Dr Louisa Moats talking about how “spelling deserves much higher status in the attention of reading educators”. We, at Sounds-Write, have always argued this, which is why we have collected so much data on children’s spelling.
Below is a verbatim transcript of why Dr Moats believes spelling is so important.
“…spelling is a visible record of language processing. It is language written down. If we know how to look at a child’s spelling, we can tell what a child understands about speech sounds, about how we use letters to represent those and, as it turns out, anything that is going to cause trouble with a child’s reading will show up even more dramatically in the child’s spelling and writing.
So, it’s a wonderful diagnostic tool. It provides very detailed insight into what children need to know and it can also tell us when children are gaining insight and what improvements they are making in their understanding of language.”
Dr Moats also goes on to mount a defence of the use of nonsense words, which, she says, indicate so well how much a child understands about
“the sounds in a word and the sound-symbol correspondences that are used to spell those words and, possibly, you also understand the structure of the words: whether they have a prefix, a root, and a suffix. English is very pattern-based and people who are proficient at reading and spelling nonsense words in fact are better at reading for meaning”.