Current research projects examine various aspects of spelling and reading and their development in children,

  • Young children sometimes produce spellings that do not represent the sounds of words. Are these spellings random strings of letters? Are children trying to represent some linguistic unit other than the phoneme? Do the spellings reflect some knowledge about the graphic characteristics of printed words? Experiments are being carried out in order to address these questions.
  • How do parents and children talk about writing and letters at home? How do these early experiences relate to later literacy development? To find out, we are examining conversations between parents and their preschool children.
  • In English, spelling can be challenging for adults. How do people spell new words? What rules and patterns exist in the language, and what rules and patterns do people use? Why are some linguistic structures particularly difficult? We carry out experiments with adult participants in order to address these and related questions.
  • Much of the research on spelling and reading development has concentrated on how children learn about the links between letters and sounds. Learning about letters' shapes and names is important too. We are examining this learning in children in the U.S. and other countries.

The following links may be useful for those who are interested in using some of the tests, materials, and items that my colleagues and I have developed.