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Children's own names influence their spelling

  • REBECCA TREIMAN (a1), BRETT KESSLER (a2) and DERRICK BOURASSA (a3)

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We analyzed spellings that were produced by children in kindergarten (N = 115), first grade (N = 104), and second grade (N = 77) in order to determine whether children's own names influence their spellings of other words. Kindergartners overused letters from their own first names (or commonly used nicknames) when spelling. Kindergartners with longer names, who had more own-name letters available for intrusions, tended to produce longer spellings than did children with shorter names. Moreover, the spellings of kindergartners with long names tended to contain a lower proportion of phonetically reasonable letters than did the spellings of children with short names. These effects appeared to be confined to children who read below the first grade level. The results support the view that children's own names play a special role in the acquisition of literacy. They further show that children choose letters in a way that reflects their experience with the letters.

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Rebecca Treiman, Psychology Department, Washington University, Campus Box 1125, One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 63130-4899. E-mail: rtreiman@artsci.wustl.edu

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Children's own names influence their spelling

  • REBECCA TREIMAN (a1), BRETT KESSLER (a2) and DERRICK BOURASSA (a3)

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