Nancy Cushen White, Ed.D., CALT-QI (ALTA), BCET, (AET), CSLDS-CERI (IDA), Clinical Professor - Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, UCSF, DERC-Dyslexia Evaluation & Remediation Clinic
Explicit instruction in orthography (spelling) that integrates phonology, phonics, morphology, and etymology is also effective for teaching word identification, vocabulary, content knowledge, and reading comprehension. Pronunciation of morphemes often varies when spelling does not: decision→decisive; sign→signature. We never know the pronunciation of a morpheme until it lands in a word: define→definition→infinite→definite→finish→finite. Good readers notice meaningful parts of words—and make connections between words related in meaning—and spelling. Pattern recognition reduces the load on memory and facilitates retrieval of linguistic information [Berninger, Carlisle, Moats, Nagy]. Related words that share structural elements at the morpheme level activate memory, especially when spelling reveals these connections: science→conscious→conscientious→conscience→ omniscient.