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The Stages of Developmental Spelling and Levels of English Language Development

By — Pearson Allyn Bacon Prentice Hall
Updated on Jul 20, 2010
Developmental Stage Descriptors Examples Corresponding ELD Level (Recommended Strategies)
Precommunicative
  • Scribbling can be representational
  • Understands speech can be written
  • Lacks concept of a word
  • Makes letterlike shapes
  • May write name
(random scribbles, marks, or drawings)

Beginning

(Strategies: letter and word recognition)

Semiphonetic
  • Spells few words correctly but knows letters make words
  • Still invents symbols for letters and words
  • Makes 1- to 3-letter representations of words, usually consonants
  • Has more control over beginnings and endings of words
  • Predicts words auditorially in frequently occurring patterns
mtr

Beginning, Early Intermediate

(Strategies: letter and word recognition, word sorting

Phonetic
  • Spellings include all sound features of words as heard
  • Invents system of phonetic spelling that is consistent
  • Understands relationship of sounds in speech to symbols in writing
  • Spelling can be read by others

mostar

monstr

Early Intermediate, Intermediate

(Strategies: word sorts, identify structural patterns, word families)

Transitional
  • Begins to spell conventionally and knows it is necessary for others to read their writing
  • Uses knowledge of how words look as well as sound and applies this to other words
  • Includes vowels in every syllable
  • Uses familiar spelling patterns
  • Intersperses conventional spelling with invented spelling

monstar

monstur

monstir

monstor

Early Advanced

(Strategies: continue word sorts, patterns, families; add word study systematic rule building)

Conventional
  • Begins to spell correctly
  • Has mastered root words, past tense, and short vowels
  • Still struggles with consonant doubling, letter position, and word affixes
  • Has growing knowledge of word meanings and complicated vowel patterns
monster

Early Advanced, Advanced

(Strategies: word study, systematic rule building, etymologies, roots, parts of speech)

Morphemic/Syntactic
  • Increasingly understands how meaning and grammatical structure control spelling
  • Adds morphemic and syntactic knowledge to phonological knowledge
  • Is better at doubling consonants, spelling alternative forms of words, and word endings
  • Conducts wordplay in creative ways
"Monster, schmonster, it doesn't scare me."

Advanced

(Strategies: same as above; encourage wordplay

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