Deaf children's spelling: does it show sensitivity to phonology?
Sutcliffe A., Dowker A., Campbell R.
A written pictures to spelling task was given to two groups of children, 17 deaf children from signing schools (average age = 10.7) and 20 hearing children learning English as a second language (ESL, average age = 10.4). The stimuli were equally divided according to frequency, phonological regularity, and orthographic regularity. We predicted that the deaf group would not differ from the ESL group in the pattern of their responses across word classes, categorized in terms of the effect of frequency and phonological and orthographic regularity. Results showed that broadly this was the case, but more detailed analysis showed that the approach of the two groups was different. More specifically, the deaf children appeared to be sensitive to, but not aware of, phonology in their spelling, whereas the ESL group showed awareness of, as well as sensitivity to, phonology in their spelling.