Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development


The purpose of this study was to investigate the benefits of a developmental spelling program utilizing word study as the primary mode of spelling instruction versus a homogeneously based traditional spelling program. Twenty-eight first grade students were administered a developmental spelling inventory to determine their stage of orthographic development. The stages were Preliterate Stage, Early Letter Name stage, Letter Name stage, or Within Word Pattern Stage. Fourteen students in the control group received spelling instruction in a whole group setting from their classroom teacher. A traditional spelling program including weekly spelling lists was utilized. A word study based program focusing on each student's developmental level was utilized with the experimental group. These students were placed in homogenous word study groups of three to five students according to their determined level. All students met three times per week for a three-month period. A pretest and post-test of the developmental spelling analysis was used to identify quantitative data of student progress after the three-month treatment. Out of 14 students in the experimental group, nine improved by one level while three improved by two levels. Two students showed no growth over the period. In the experimental group, 86% of students showed growth, In the control group nine students out of 14 showed an increase of one level of developmental function while five showed no growth over the three-month period. Overall, 64% of the students in the control group showed growth.