Preliteracy Speech Sound Production Skill and Linguistic Characteristics of Grade 3 Spellings: A Study Using the Templin Archive


Purpose: This archival investigation examined the relationship between preliteracy speech sound production skill (SSPS) and spelling in Grade 3 using a dataset in which children's receptive vocabulary was generally within normal limits, speech therapy was not provided until Grade 2, and phonological awareness instruction was discouraged at the time data were collected.

Method: Participants (N = 250), selected from the Templin Archive (Templin, 2004), varied on prekindergarten SSPS. Participants' real word spellings in Grade 3 were evaluated using a metric of linguistic knowledge, the Computerized Spelling Sensitivity System (Masterson & Apel, 2013). Relationships between kindergarten speech error types and later spellings also were explored.

Results: Prekindergarten children in the lowest SPSS (7th percentile) scored poorest among articulatory subgroups on both individual spelling elements (phonetic elements, junctures, and affixes) and acceptable spelling (using relatively more omissions and illegal spelling patterns). Within the 7th percentile subgroup, there were no statistical spelling differences between those with mostly atypical speech sound errors and those with mostly typical speech sound errors.

Conclusions: Findings were consistent with predictions from dual route models of spelling that SSPS is one of many variables associated with spelling skill and that children with impaired SSPS are at risk for spelling difficulty.

Document Type




Publication Date


Journal Title

Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research