Individual differences among spellers
Learners appear to fall into one of several categories in relation to acquisition of spelling ability. The first category comprises those who seem almost to have a natural aptitude for language and easily accomplish the task of learning to spell in the same effortless way that they learned to speak, listen and read. The second, much larger group comprises those students who have no major problems in getting under way with spelling, but who benefit considerably from some degree of regular explicit teaching of word-study strategies appropriate to their level of development. Good spellers appear to have developed strategies for recognising sound sequences in words, grapho-phonic relationships, and visual patterns. Average spellers may have a somewhat restricted range of spelling strategies to call upon when compared with very good spellers. The weaknesses evident in the spelling of students with learning difficulties and disabilities may be related to underlying problems with language, memory, phonological awareness, visual processing and inefficient learning strategies.