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Assessment of Spelling and Word-Level Reading

presented by Kenn Apel, PhD, CCC-SLP

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Disclosure Statement:

Financial: Kenn Apel is a co-author on SPELL-2 and SPELL-Links to Reading and Writing. Kenn Apel receives compensation from MedBridge for this course. There is no financial interest beyond the production of this course.

Non-Financial: Kenn Apel has no competing non-financial interests or relationships with regard to the content presented in this course.

Satisfactory completion requirements: All disciplines must complete learning assessments to be awarded credit, no minimum score required unless otherwise specified within the course.

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Accreditation Check:

Spelling and word-level reading are language skills that are crucial for academic, vocational, and social success. Both written language skills require individuals to use their phonemic awareness, orthographic pattern awareness, morphological awareness, and semantic awareness skills as well as their mental graphemic representations. This course will cover how speech-language pathologists and other educators/specialists can assess students' spelling and word-level reading abilities via norm-referenced and criterion-referenced measures. The goal of these assessments will be to determine which linguistic underpinning(s) may be leading to spelling and word-level reading deficits/difficulties.

Meet Your Instructor

Kenn Apel, PhD, CCC-SLP

Kenn Apel, PhD, CCC-SLP, is professor and chair of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of South Carolina, Columbia. For more than 30 years, Dr. Apel has been conducting research in the areas of spoken and written language and working with children, adolescents, and adults who have language-based learning deficits. Dr.…

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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1. Overview of Word-Level Assessment

Spelling and word-level reading assessment may involve both standardized (norm-referenced) and informal (criterion-referenced) assessment procedures to determine whether students are experiencing difficulties with spelling and reading and why. Knowledge of what norm-referenced and criterion-referenced measures contribute to the assessment process, plus the five “building blocks” of word-level literacy (phonemic awareness, orthographic pattern awareness, morphological awareness, semantic awareness, and mental graphemic representations) is crucial for assessing spelling and word-level reading.

2. Assessing Spelling

When assessing spelling, several options are available, including the use of norm-referenced and criterion-referenced tests or tasks, as well as obtaining written products. Once a spelling sample(s) is obtained, there are a number of choices for analyzing the sample. Importantly, analysis of students’ errors using a multilinguistic, “five blocks” approach provides insight into which linguistic awareness area(s) students may be struggling with that are preventing them from producing accurate spellings. The use of a multilinguistic assessment approach to spelling aids in developing specific goals for instruction/intervention.

3. Assessing Word-Level Reading

Word-level reading assessment, conducted via norm-referenced tests, often includes measures of both real word and pseudoword reading. Both measures can provide insight into some aspects of students’ linguistic awareness skills. Criterion-referenced measures augment these tests to provide additional evidence for students’ linguistic knowledge as well as their use of strategies, or lack thereof, for reading unknown or less familiar words. Collectively, these assessment procedures provide the basis for specific learning objectives for instruction/intervention.

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