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How Children Learn to Write Words$
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Rebecca Treiman and Brett Kessler

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199907977

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199907977.001.0001

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(p.84) Chapter 4 Theories
How Children Learn to Write Words

Rebecca Treiman

Brett Kessler

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses major theories of spelling development. One is that learning to spell is a process of rote memorization. Dual-route theory postulates that spellers use a lexical route, based on whole-word memory, and a nonlexical route, involving phoneme-to-grapheme rules. Performance is influenced by regularity, word frequency, and lexicality. Constructivists claim that children go through stages— presyllabic, syllabic, and alphabetic—during which they hold different hypotheses about how writing works. Phase theory postulates an initial prealphabetic phase, followed by partial alphabetic, full alphabetic, and consolidated alphabetic phases. Connectionist models claim that a single network can be trained to produce correct spellings of regular words, exception words, and nonwords; studies in this tradition has focused on consistency effects. IMP, the Integration of Multiple Patterns, the theory proposed and defended in this book, sees children as learning about and using a variety of spelling patterns, probabilistic as well as all-or-none.

Keywords:   dual-route, grapheme, constructivist, phase theory, connectionist, IMP, regularity, lexicality, word frequency, consistency

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