How do children acquire spelling skills?
Studies have indicated that spelling ability develops through a series of stages, each stage reflecting the children’s knowledge about speech sounds, the relationship of these sounds to letters and letter-strings, and the units of meaning within words. Some children with a natural aptitude for spelling will progress quite rapidly, with little or no explicit teaching. The creation of invented spellings by young children is considered to be an indication that they have started to develop an awareness of the internal sound structure of spoken words and how the units can be represented in print. As children move through the stage they become better able to identify sounds within more complex words. As a child moves out of the phonetic stage of spelling he or she begins to rely much more on the visual characteristics of a word, and very much less on a simplistic translation from sound to symbol.