Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development


The purpose of this study was to determine the spelling progress of first grade students in whole language classrooms. Using a modified version of Graves spelling stages, the study investigated students' invented spelling development from October to June.

This study examined the invented spelling stages of development of 128 first grade students; in six heterogeneous classrooms, all of which practiced the whole language philosophy of learning. The teachers, experienced at assessing stages of spelling development in students' writing samples, assigned a stage of spelling to each student in October and June. Data comparing the October spelling stage means and the June spelling stage means were analyzed using a t test for dependent means. This analysis of data revealed that students demonstrated significant gains in spelling development, as measured by a modified version of Graves' stages of spelling development.

Students ware sub-divided in terms of their October- stage of spelling development, after which average growth was measured. Based on the analysis of the data, students at the earlier stages of spelling development made greater progress than those students at more advanced stages of spelling development. Average progress was adversely correlated with spelling stages through stage 5.

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