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 students' verbalization of the spelling strategies that they use in comparison to the strategies that they are actually using when spelling an unknown word.

Four first grade students (two male and two female) and their female teacher were the participants in this study. The cognitive awareness of the strategies that they are using was measured using an informal interview given to the students before collection of the data through observation. After observing the students the classroom teacher was also interviewed in order to gain a more broad understanding of the strategies that these four students are using.

Analysis was first done on an individual child basis. When analyzing the data I took into consideration: (1) The strategies that the student verbalized they were using (2) The strategies I observed the student using (3) The strategies that the teacher observed the student using and (4) The patterns in writing samples.

After carefully reading through each child’s data I began to compare and contrast the children’s data. I took into consideration: (1) whether or not the students' verbalization matched their strategy use (2) common patterns in verbalization and (3) common patterns in strategy use.

The results of this study provide some interesting data. More than half of the students verbalized and used the "sound it out" strategy. All of the students were cognitively aware of the role constructivism plays in spelling. The results support the idea that these four students are metacognitively aware of spelling strategies that they use when spelling an unknown word.

However, I do need to note that none of the students used memory as a response for a spelling strategy. When observing their use of strategies it appeared as though they used memory when the student would come to a word they were unsure how to spell, pause for a minute and then write the word quickly. This could suggest that if students are spelling a word using memory, it may be so automatic that they do not cognitively draw upon that strategy.


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