Explaining Individual Differences in Spelling Ability

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Abstract

This article considers the differences between good and poor spellers. The article is organized into four basic sections that consider the factors involved in learning to spell and the relationship between reading and spelling, spelling ability in good and poor readers, the good reader-poor speller paradox, and individual differences in good and poor spellers. The major conclusion reached in this article is that spelling is just as much a language-based skill as reading. Individual differences in spelling ability are the result of differences in the knowledge and use of sound-spelling information rather than differences in visual memory abilities. Poor spellers may rely more on visual strategies than good spellers, but this is only because of their limited phonological knowledge.

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