Predictors of Spelling Mistakes in Expository Texts in Hebrew-speaking Elementary School Children

Spelling is one of the predominant measures that establish text quality from a scholastic perspective, and is particularly relevant at elementary school when children acquire the correct spelling conventions. Spelling depends on the typology of the language and may vary in the process of text generation according to the genre demands. Hence, the present study aimed to reveal the general profile of spelling errors in expository texts – argumentative and descriptive texts - written by 293 Hebrew speaking children from 2nd to 5th grades, and to evaluate which variables were found to correlate with correct spelling in Hebrew. For that purposes, each participant produced 3 expository texts, and completed different cognitive, linguistic and transcription-oriented tasks. Spelling errors were identified and grade-level effects were analyzed, revealing significant developmental differences in terms of spelling accuracy. Genre effects indicated that more spelling errors were found in argumentative texts than in descriptive ones. Linguistic tasks - as reading comprehension, reading fluency and lexical depth – were correlated with spelling in all grade levels, but decreased in 5th grades. Regressions that were used to determine the relative weight of the different predictors indicated reading accuracy as a predictor of spelling errors. In light of these findings, educational implications concerning literacy development in elementary school will be discussed.

Spelling, Expository Texts, Orthographic Knowledge, Spelling Predictors, Genre Distinctions

Literacies Learning

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

  • Anat Stavans
    • Associate Professor, Beit Berl Academic College, Israel Israel
  • Batia Seroussi
    • Senior Lecturer, Levinsky College of Education, Israel Israel