Jun 22 – 24, 2017
SISSA Main Campus
Europe/Rome timezone

Development of morphological processing in spelling

Jun 23, 2017, 11:30 AM
Lecture Hall Paolo Budinich (SISSA Main Campus)

Lecture Hall Paolo Budinich

SISSA Main Campus

via Bonomea 265, 34136, Trieste
Talk Freely Contributed Paper Contributed papers 4


Helen Breadmore (Coventry University)


Morphological awareness is demonstrated to be a key contributor to literacy development. Nonetheless, little is known about how children actually use morphological information as they read and write. To address this, we examine children’s use of root morphemes in spelling. We use newly developed online measurement to study the processes involved in generating correct spellings in addition to errors. 25 children aged 6-8 and 24 aged 8-11 spelled root words (e.g., rock), inflections (rocks), derivations (rocky) and unrelated controls (rocket). In addition to traditional offline measures of spelling accuracy and root constancy, children’s handwriting was digitally recorded to examine preparation time, word and root morpheme writing speed and the location of pauses. Preliminary analyses of correct spellings indicate that spelling preparation time was shorter for inflected and derived words than for unrelated controls. However, word writing time was longer in these comparisons. Further analyses will examine root morpheme writing time and the location of intraword pauses. We will also examine developmental effects, relationships between spelling measures, morphological awareness and overall literacy skill. Evidence from correct spellings is consistent with offline measures of spelling errors – children use root constancy to support spelling. In addition, we argue that our findings show that when writing a morphologically complex word, children initially prepare to spell the root morpheme and begin to spell it before preparing the second morpheme.

Primary author

Helen Breadmore (Coventry University)


Helene Deacon (Department of Psychology & Neuroscience, Dalhousie University)

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