Communication skills are essential for a child to grow and interact successfully with the world. Communication usually begins with simple body language, gestures and vocalisations. As children progress to verbal communication, they naturally develop an early understanding of their native language.
Making the connection between verbal expression and written communication is much more complex, and requires a combination of observation and formal instruction. The foundational skills for successful written communication are learnt at this time, such as the ability to identify letters by sight, and build associations between written patterns and vocal expressions.
Spelling and its role in literacy development
Spelling, the art of correctly assembling words from their letters, is one of the essential components of successful writing. Being confident at spelling leads to confidence in all aspects of literacy. The ability to recognise the links between word of the same origin and understanding word relationships has been proven to aid comprehension skills.
Research has found that spelling, reading, writing and comprehension skills are all closely linked. A research study conducted by L.C. Ehri for the Scientific Study of Reading found that spelling instruction improves reading ability, as it builds a learner’s knowledge of the alphabetic system as it is used in reading.
Teaching young spellers the strategies, rules and concepts to grow their spelling and vocabulary knowledge benefits them in all aspects of their learning, as well as in their everyday life.
Learners who feel confident with letters and word patterns are able to read and comprehend more complex texts. They also have the necessary language tools to better convey their own ideas through both written and verbal communication.
The relationship between written words and sounds can seem arbitrary and difficult for many learners. But building a strong foundational knowledge of the links between forms, letters, sounds and meaning is essential for students to become confident communicators.