Statistical Learning and Spelling Purpose The purpose of this article is to provide a tutorial on statistical learning and its role in learning to spell and to discuss the implications of the research for educators. Method The tutorial begins with a discussion of statistical learning and its characteristics. It then discusses research ... Tutorial
Tutorial  |   August 14, 2018
Statistical Learning and Spelling
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Rebecca Treiman
    Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences, Washington University in St. Louis
  • Disclosure: The author has declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The author has declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Rebecca Treiman: rtreiman@wustl.edu
  • Editor-in-Chief: Shelley Gray
    Editor-in-Chief: Shelley Gray×
  • Editor: Mary Alt
    Editor: Mary Alt×
  • Publisher Note: This article is part of the Special Issue: How Statistical Learning Relates to Speech-Language Pathology.
    Publisher Note: This article is part of the Special Issue: How Statistical Learning Relates to Speech-Language Pathology.×
Article Information
Development / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Special Issue: How Statistical Learning Relates to Speech-Language Pathology / Tutorials
Tutorial   |   August 14, 2018
Statistical Learning and Spelling
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, August 2018, Vol. 49, 644-652. doi:10.1044/2018_LSHSS-STLT1-17-0122
History: Received November 6, 2017 , Revised December 28, 2017 , Accepted March 5, 2018
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, August 2018, Vol. 49, 644-652. doi:10.1044/2018_LSHSS-STLT1-17-0122
History: Received November 6, 2017; Revised December 28, 2017; Accepted March 5, 2018

Purpose The purpose of this article is to provide a tutorial on statistical learning and its role in learning to spell and to discuss the implications of the research for educators.

Method The tutorial begins with a discussion of statistical learning and its characteristics. It then discusses research on how statistical learning plays out in learning to spell, how spelling should be taught, and similarities and differences among learners. The focus is on the learning of English, although studies of other alphabetic writing systems are also considered. Research shows that, from an early age, children use their statistical learning skills to learn about the visual characteristics of written words. Children also use their statistical learning skills to help learn about the relations between visual units and units of language, supplementing what they are explicitly taught in school.

Conclusion Statistical learning plays an important role in learning to spell, and this can help to explain why some aspects of spelling are more difficult to learn than others. If children are to learn to spell effectively and efficiently, structured instruction is also important.

Acknowledgments
Preparation of this tutorial was supported by a Visiting Fellowship from the University of Tasmania and by National Science Foundation Grant BCS-1421279.
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