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This paper explores the relationship between speech and spelling in a single-case study of developmental dyslexia. JM, a developmental dyslexic with a well-documented history of speech, reading and spelling difficulties, was examined when he was 13-14 years old. He still had subtle articulation difficulties causing some disfluency and his use of phonetic voicing was atypical. We argue that these difficulties were recapitulated in his spelling where he was more sensitive to the prosodic aspects of words than normal spellers, exhibiting a strong tendency to spell accurately words which are stressed on the first, rather than the second syllable. He also had more difficulty with phonetic voicing and spelling errors reflected this uncertainty. Thus, when word-specific (orthographic) spelling information is unavailable, JM, like all spellers, must make use of phonological spelling strategies. In his case, these are compromised because of underlying phonological speech problems. It is argued that, while young children make use of a phonological 'frame' on which to organize orthographic information, dyslexics, like JM, who have inadequate phonological representations, are unable to do so. This has a detrimental effect on their acquisition of spelling. © 1992 Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Original publication




Journal article


Reading and Writing

Publication Date





19 - 31