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A Cognitive Theory of Orthographic Transitioning: Predictable Errors in How Spanish-Speaking Children Spell English Words

Olatokunbo S. Fashola, Priscilla A. Drum, Richard E. Mayer and Sang-Jin Kang
American Educational Research Journal
Vol. 33, No. 4 (Winter, 1996), pp. 825-843
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1163417
Page Count: 19
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A Cognitive Theory of Orthographic Transitioning: Predictable Errors in How Spanish-Speaking Children Spell English Words
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Abstract

Schools in the United States serve a large and increasing number of Spanish-speaking students who are making the transition to English language literacy. This study examines one aspect of the transition to English literacy, namely, how Spanish-speaking students spell English words. Samples of 38 students who speak Spanish at home (Spanish-speaking group) and 34 students who speak English at home (English-speaking group) listened to a list of 40 common English words dictated to them by the teacher and wrote down each word one at a time. Spanish-speaking students produced more errors that were consistent with the correct application of Spanish phonological and orthographical rules (i. e., predicted errors) than did English-speaking students, and the groups generally did not differ in their production of other kinds of spelling errors (i. e., nonpredicted errors). Theoretical and practical implications for bilingual education are discussed.

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