Invented Spelling Research Study




Warren, Tara

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



The English language is a complex system, and spelling is equally complicated. Children learn to write the language through the process of invented spelling. Invented spelling is the attempt of a child or student to spell words that reflect their developing and limited knowledge about the spelling system. This form of spelling allows children to develop more quickly in phonemic awareness and cognition as opposed to learning to spell at an early age with other formats of tests such as multiple-choice. The goal of the present research was to create a real-life study by testing a range of grade level children to determine the actual point at which teachers should switch from allowing their students to use invented spelling to teaching them correct spellings of words. Students were selected from grades Kindergarten through third. The fifty-five children who chose to participate in this research study had a wide range of results within their grade levels. Overall, the study’s results show that each grade tended to follow general spelling patterns based on their individual knowledge of phonemic awareness. My findings support the idea that teachers need to allow students up to second grade to use invented spellings. From third grade on, teachers should teach the correct spellings of words. Educators who use this knowledge of when to allow their students to utilize the process of invented spellings and when to transition into solely teaching their students the correct spellings will help mold their students into stronger, more confident spellers.


Undergraduate Research Mentor: Sandra Maxedon, ECH Education


Invented Spelling, Elementary Education