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Scientific Program

Program 1.1. Spelling Aquisition

The aim of this programme will be to examine current knowledge, discuss theory, methods and practical issues and build common research on the acquisition of spelling at infralexical, lexical and morphosyntactic levels.

At an infralexical level, we will review the role of graphemic, syllabic, morphological units in learning to spell in different orthographic systems. There will be an emphasis on studies involving real-time or off-line analyses of written word production.
At a Lexical level, there will be a particular focus on the relation between orthographic frequency, regularity and the acquisition and use of an orthographic lexicon in different orthographic systems. Data on gaze fixation and eye tracking will be included.

Given the role of input in the development of children’s lexical systems and the purported relation between exposure frequencies and spelling errors, studies devoted to the analysis of written exposure will be identified.
Special attention will be given to intervention studies and to studies analyzing teaching practices and their effect on mastering spelling.

Specific goals for this program are the development of:

  1. An inventory of studies in different orthographic systems and linguistic environments
  2. Data: corpora of spelling mistakes; measures of exposure frequency
  3. Inventory of on-line observational techniques and instruments

This will culminate in the writing of a review paper giving research-based guidelines for teaching spelling in different linguistic contexts.

Program 1.2. Difficulties in writing and their impact on composition

The aim of this programme will be to examine the ways in which children’s early language and/or literacy difficulties impact on the production of written texts.

Studies focusing on different types of impairments and difficulties in children in a variety of languages will be compared. For instance, studies in which children with language impairment, congenital deafness or unilateral perinatal strokes are compared with their typically-developing peers.

Tracing the development of writing in these different populations will lead to a better understanding of how the writing process can develop using compensatory strategies that are obscured in typical development.

Specific goals for this program are the development of:

  1. An inventory of studies (short description of population, measures, results)
  2. Data: selection of written productions from atypical developing children, in different languages classified and analyzed

Culminating in the writing of a review paper that explores how atypical development affects writing processes.

Program 1.3. Text Genre Acquisition

The aim here will be to characterize the development of writing processes and written products in different text genres (narrative, expository, argumentative). Teaching practices for text production in early education will also be examined.
Studies with children, teenagers and adults producing different text types in both written and spoken modalities will be compared. Data should include analyses of spelling, lexicon, cohesion, syntactic packaging, discourse structure, and online measures (e.g., study of pauses and revisions).

Specific goals for this program are development of:

  1. An inventory of studies on text production in different genres and modalities
  2. Data: Texts and coding systems. Processes (scriptlog, writing tablets, analysis of pauses)

Culminating in the writing of a review paper giving guidelines for improving the mastering of text genres.


Good to know

The Working Group met in Barcelona (Spain) 5-7 april 2009

Last update : 15 June 2009


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