The Orthographic Development of Secondary English Learners
AuthorKiernan, Darl Annetta
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More children of immigrants are entering U.S. schools at the secondary level than at the elementary level. For secondary English language learners, learning to understand and use word structure can make a difference in helping them read with comprehension. This study describes the orthographic development among 199 secondary English learners in grades 7-12. Spelling data were collected three times over a nine-month period. Data from the English Language Proficiency Assessment (ELPA) were also examined to determine if there was a significant relationship between students' orthographic knowledge as measured by their total ESI scores and students' language competency scores as measured by the ELPA subtest scores. As a group, there were significant changes across the three time periods within a school year. Positive correlations were also found between the students' overall spelling scores and their Speaking, Listening, Reading, Writing, Oral and Overall ELPA scores. Implications for teaching include the use of spelling data to provide differentiated vocabulary and word study instruction that moves secondary learners forward and propels them to gain access to the complex text they will encounter as they navigate the disciplines of higher education.