Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


According to Simon and Simon (1973), much of a child's spelling knowledge can only be retrieved from memory storage when written spellings are available as retrieval cues. A child who cannot immediately recall a correct spelling, therefore, may be able to make a decision by writing out trial spellings and 'testing' them for recognition.;Five experiments were conducted to test Simon's model. The results of Experiments 1 and 2, in accordance with the model, showed that fourth-grade children were able to recognize whether or not their own spelling attempts were correct, and to discriminate between correct and incorrect spellings of words which they could not spell to dictation. Moreover, when they were given a choice between misspellings which they had themselves produced twice in exactly the same form and correct spellings of the same words, they chose the correct spellings in the majority of instances. These results indicate that children do have information available in memory which they are unable to retrieve and apply in the initial production of written spellings.;Experiment 3 tested the hypothesis that visual cues contribute to spelling decisions by facilitating access to information stored in memory. In this experiment, children were required to choose between visually or orally presented alternatives for words which they had not been able to spell to dictation. As predicted, the children made significantly more correct choices in the visual presentation condition than in the oral presentation condition.;Simon's model was tested further in Experiments 4 and 5 by encouraging children to use visual recognition testing and assessing the effects on their spelling performance. In both experiments, subjects who were prompted to use the recognition testing strategies described by Simon produced significantly fewer errors than control subjects who had no opportunity to use these strategies.;The results from these five studies support Simon's contention that children have spelling information available in memory storage which they do not use in the production of their initial spelling attempts. Visual testing of written trial spellings facilitates the retrieval of this information from memory storage and contributes in a substantial way to spelling decisions.



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