Pulido L, Morin MF. (2018). Invented spelling: What is the best way of improving literacy skills at kindergarten?. Educational Psychology. 38(8): 980-996.
We examined the progress made by 132 six-year-old French-speaking children in their preliteracy skills during four kinds of interventions. Three of these interventions concerned invented spelling, where the children tried to spell words. In the first condition, they were encouraged to reflect on conventional spellings. In the second condition, they reflected on spellings that were slightly more complex than theirs, while in the third condition, they reflected on increasingly complex spellings that eventually led to the conventional spellings. The fourth condition (control) consisted of phonological training. We assessed the children’s phonological awareness, letter knowledge, spelling, and decoding skills, controlling for vocabulary and nonverbal cognitive ability. Posttest results indicated progress in each condition. The greatest progress was observed in the second condition for decoding, spelling, letter-name knowledge and syllable awareness, and in the control condition for phoneme awareness. Overall, results showed that all kinds of interventions led to very similar levels of progress, but that improvements were greater for interventions that focused on the children’s initial invented spellings – in other words, when they adopted a Vygotskian perspective.