Spelling instruction for students with learning disabilities: Implications for research and practice

David Mcnaughton, Charles A. Hughes, Karen Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


We reviewed 27 published studies on spelling instruction for students with learning disabilities (LD) and coded them for the following variables: (a) student characteristics, (b) instructional activities, (c) nature of materials to be learned, and (d) criterial tasks (Jenkins, 1979). Most of the studies investigated the impact of instructional activities on the production of targeted spelling items by elementary-grade students with LD. We interpret the results of this review as suggesting that the following activities may enhance learning for some students with LD: (a) limiting the number of new words introduced each day, (b) facilitating student-directed and peer-assisted instruction, (c) directing students to name letters aloud as they are practiced, (d) including instruction in morphemic analysis, (e) providing immediate error imitation and correction, (f) using motivating reinforcers, and (g) providing periodic retesting and review. Only limited information is available on interventions that promote generalization of spelling knowledge to untrained words, use of trained vocabulary in a variety of writing activities, and maintenance of vocabulary across time. We discuss current research issues and future research directions in spelling instruction for students with learning disabilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-185
Number of pages17
JournalLearning Disability Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1994

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • General Health Professions
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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