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Therapy Source Career Center - June 2019

Metalinguistic Spelling

Jan Wasowicz, Ph.D,CCC-SLP

September 28, 2009



Can you give an example of a metalinguistic spelling strategy?


In order to spell words correctly, students need to be able to think about and talk about the linguistic properties of words and about the sensible application of their word-study knowledge, skills, and strategies. For example, I develop my students' ability to segment words into spoken syllables and I explicitly teach my students that every spoken syllable has one vowel sound and that vowel sound must be represented by at least one vowel letter when spelling a word. This word-study knowledge and skill can be used to correctly spell words like "car" and "realize" if students think about the linguistic properties of these words when writing them. These two words are commonly misspelled as "cr" and "relize" but correct spelling is facilitated if students think about the linguistic properties of these words. A think-aloud to correctly spell the word "car" would go something like this: "The word 'car' has one syllable so I know it has one vowel sound. If it has one vowel sound, then my spelling of this word must contain at least one vowel letter." Metalinguistic strategies also can be used to correct a misspelled word. A think-aloud to correct the word "realize" misspelled as "relize" would go something like this: "The word 'realize' has three syllables which means it has three vowel sounds and each of these vowel sounds must be represented by at least one vowel letter when I write the word. I only see two vowel letters in my spelling, 'relize' - silent e's don't count. I need to go back and say the word again, one syllable at a time, to discover which vowel letter I left out and to correct my spelling of the word."

This Ask the Expert was taken from the course entitled: Meta-linguistic Spelling Instruction presented by Jan Wasowicz, Ph.D., CCC-SLP.

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Dr. Jan Wasowicz has over 30 years' experience working with children with language-based learning disabilities and she is frequently invited to speak on best practices for literacy assessment and instruction. Dr. Wasowicz is a certified speech-language pathologist and she holds elementary and secondary classroom-teaching certificates with speech-language endorsement from the State Teacher Certification Board of Illinois.

jan wasowicz

Jan Wasowicz, Ph.D,CCC-SLP

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