The acquisition of literacy has been defined by Juel, Griffith, and Gough (1986) as "acquiring the ability to both comprehend and produce written text" (p. 243). In developing a model of the literacy acquisition process, Juel et a1. (1986) review research suggesting that the word-level skills of decoding and spelling are especially important in the early stages of learning to read and write. This evidence supports a major theoretical assumption of their model, which is that efficient word recognition and spelling are critical to the higher order cognitive processes of comprehension and composition. Stated simply, if children are having trouble reading and writing individual words, it is likely that they will also encounter difficulty in thinking about what they are reading and writing.