How Children Learn to Write Words

ISBN : 9780199907977

Rebecca Treiman; Brett Kessler
416 ページ
162 x 241 mm

Writing allows people to convey information to others who are remote in time and space, vastly increasing the range over which people can cooperate and the amount they can learn. Mastering the writing system of one's language is crucial for success in a modern society. This book examines how children learn to write words. It provides a theoretical framework that integrates findings from a wide range of age groups-from children who are producing their first scribbles to experienced spellers who are writing complex words. To set the stage for these discussions, early chapters of the book consider the nature of writing systems and the nature of learning itself. The following chapters review various aspects of orthographic development, including the learning of symbol shapes and punctuation. Each chapter reviews research with learners of a variety of languages and writing systems, revealing underlying similarities. Discussions of how orthography is and should be taught are incorporated into each chapter, making the book of interest to educators as well as to psychologists, cognitive scientists, and linguists. This book is unique in the range of topics and languages that it covers and the degree to which it integrates linguistic insights about the nature of writing systems with discussions of how people learn to use these systems. It is written in a scholarly yet accessible manner, making it suited for a wide audience.


Symbols and Abbreviations
General Symbols
Phonetic Symbols
1 Introduction
1.1 Writing as a Tool
1.2 Orthographic Knowledge as a Part of Writing
1.2.1 Cognitive Resources and Technical Tools
1.2.2 Social Implications of Nonstandard Spelling
1.3 How Can Orthographic Knowledge Be Achieved?
1.3.1 Discovery Learning and the Whole-Language Approach
1.3.2 Direct Instruction and the Phonics Approach
1.4 Spelling and Reading
1.5 Orthographic Reform
1.6 Past Work on Writing Systems and How They Are Learned
1.7 Our Approach
2 Writing Systems
2.1 Outer Form of Scripts
2.2 What Writing Systems Represent
2.2.1 Representing Ideas: Semasiography
2.2.2 Representing Speech: Glottographic Writing Representing Words and Morphemes: Logography Representing Syllables: Syllabary Representing Phonemes: Alphabetic Writing Representing Subphonemic Features: Featural Writing Mixed Writing Systems
2.3 How Writing Represents Meaning
2.3.1 How Semasiographies Represent Meaning
2.3.2 How Glottographies Represent Meaning
2.4 Composition of Characters
2.4.1 Composing Semasiograms
2.4.2 Composing Logograms
2.4.3 Composing Letters
2.5 Underrepresentation
2.6 Arranging Multiple Characters
2.6.1 Lines and Pages of Text
2.6.2 Grouping of Characters
2.7 Conservatism in Writing
2.8 Sound Change and its Effects on Writing
2.8.1 Types of Sound Change
2.8.2 Effects of Sound Change on Writing
2.9 Which Language Do We Write?
2.10 Conclusions
3 Learning and Teaching
3.1 Statistical Learning
3.2 Learning through Language
3.3 Implicit and Explicit Knowledge
3.4 Learning of Language and Learning About Language
3.5 Formal and Informal Teaching
3.6 Conclusions
4 Theories
4.1 Rote Memorization
4.2 Dual-Route Theory
4.3 Constructivism
4.4 Phase Theory
4.5 Connectionist Theories
4.6 IMP
4.7 Methods of Testing the Theories
4.8 Conclusions
5 Graphic Form
5.1 Surface Properties of Writing
5.2 Learning About the Surface Properties of Writing
5.2.1 Artificiality and Two-Dimensionality
5.2.2 Iconicity
5.2.3 Sequentiality and Directionality
5.2.4 Knowledge About Units
5.2.5 Differences Among Types of Writing
5.2.6 Differentiating Writing From Pictures and Numbers
5.2.7 Summary
5.3 Theories
5.4 Teaching
5.5 Conclusions
6 Symbolic Function
6.1 Learning That Writing Stands for Something Outside Itself
6.2 Learning What Writing Stands For and How
6.3 Theories
6.4 Conclusions
7 The Order of the Alphabet
7.1 Principles in Ordering
7.1.1 Arbitrary Ordering
7.1.2 Principled Ordering Deletions Insertions Reordering Other Scripts
7.2 When and How Children Learn About Alphabet Order
7.2.1 Oral Methods
7.2.2 Alphabet Books
7.2.3 Learning About Alphabet Order at School
7.3 How Does Knowledge of Alphabet Order Influence Children?
7.4 Conclusions
8 Symbol Shapes
8.1 Principles That Underlie Systems of Symbol Shapes
8.1.1 Economy
8.1.2 Conservatism
8.1.3 Beauty
8.1.4 Expressiveness
8.1.5 Similarity
8.1.6 Contrast
8.1.7 Redundancy
8.1.8 Summary of the Principles That Underlie Systems of Symbol Shapes
8.2 Learning and Use of Shapes as Graphic Objects
8.2.1 Learning About the Similarities Among the Shapes of Writing
8.2.2 Learning About Contrasts Among the Shapes of Writing
8.2.3 Production
8.2.4 Learning Variant Forms of Shapes
8.3 Nonarbitrary Links Between Symbol Shapes and Functions
8.4 Formal and Informal Teaching
8.5 Theories
8.6 Conclusions
9 Letter Names
9.1 Principles That Underlie Systems of Letter Names
9.1.1 Phonetic Iconicity
9.1.2 Legality
9.1.3 Similarity
9.1.4 Contrast
9.1.5 Economy
9.1.6 Conservatism
9.1.7 Other Principles
9.1.8 Summary of Principles That Underlie Systems of Letter Names
9.2 Learning the Phonological Forms of Letter Names
9.3 Do Children Benefit From the Phonetic Iconicity of Letter Names?
9.4 Should Children Learn Letter Names?
9.5 Names of Auxiliary Marks
9.6 Theories
9.7 Conclusions
10 Early Spelling in Phonographic Writing Systems
10.1 Do Beginners Spell Using One Symbol for Each Syllable?
10.2 Letter Names and Early Spelling
10.2.1 Spellings With Whole Letter Names
10.2.2 Partial and Inexact Matches to Letter Names
10.2.3 Conclusions About Letter Name Spellings
10.3 Other Labels
10.4 Phonological Analysis and Classification
10.4.1 Consonant Cluster Onsets
10.4.2 One Versus Two Sounds
10.4.3 Final Consonant Clusters
10.4.4 Other Ambiguities Involving Phonemes
10.4.5 Suprasegmental Features
10.5 Beyond Phonology
10.6 Teaching
10.7 Conclusions
11 Complex Spellings
11.1 Beyond the Regular Word Versus Exception Word Dichotomy
11.2 Conditioning by Neighboring Segments
11.2.1 Coda-to-Vowel Conditioning
11.2.2 Onset-to-Vowel Conditioning
11.2.3 Vowel-to-Onset Conditioning
11.2.4 Vowel-to-Coda Conditioning
11.2.5 Do Rimes Have a Special Status?
11.2.6 Extended Spellings of Intervocalic Consonants
11.2.7 Summary of Results on Conditioning by Neighboring Segments
11.3 Conditioning by Position
11.4 Conditioning by Stress
11.5 Conditioning by Morphology
11.5.1 Influences of Morphology on Spelling
11.5.2 Summary of Results on Morphological Conditioning
11.6 Other Types of Conditioning
11.7 Unconditioned Inconsistencies
11.8 Other Complexities
11.8.1 Homographs
11.8.2 Words With More Letters Than Phonemes
11.8.3 Additional Complexities
11.9 Summary of Findings on Learning of Complex Patterns
11.10 Teaching
11.11 Conclusions
12 Punctuation and Capitalization
12.1 Punctuation
12.1.1 Punctuation Marks
12.1.2 Word Separation
12.2 Capitalization
12.3 Teaching
12.4 Conclusions
13 Conclusions and Extensions
13.1 Evaluation of Theories of the Learning of Orthography
13.2 Broader Influences of Knowledge About Writing
13.2.1 Influences on Reading
13.2.2 Influences on Language
13.2.3 Influences Outside of Language
13.2.4 Summary of Writing's Influences
13.3 Instruction About Orthography
13.3.1 Teach Patterns
13.3.2 Include Activities That Focus Attention on Writing Itself
13.3.3 Provide Feedback After Errors
13.3.4 Don't Assume Too Much
13.3.5 Teach Teachers as Well as Children
13.3.6 It's Just Orthography
13.4 Assessing Children's Spelling
13.5 Differences Between Children
13.6 Final Words


Rebecca Treiman and Brett Kessler, both at Washington University in St. Louis, are widely known for their research on writing systems and how they are learned and used. They bring a combination of linguistic and psychological expertise to the topic.