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J Exp Child Psychol. 1984 Jun;37(3):463-77.

Individual differences among children in spelling and reading styles.


Previous studies have found differences among children in their relative reliance on spelling-sound rules and word-specific associations in reading words. Children at one end of the continuum ("Phoenicians") rely heavily on spelling-sound rules; children at the other end ("Chinese") are more likely to use specific associations. This study found evidence for a Phoenician-Chinese continuum in spelling as well as in reading. Ability to spell nonsense word (e.g., "prunt") correlated more highly with ability to spell regular words (e.g., "grunt") than with ability to spell exception words (e.g., "front"). Children who were skilled at rules tended to overgeneralize them to exception words. In addition, a measure of rule use in spelling correlated with measures of rule use in reading.

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