Rebecca Treiman Ph.D. is the Burke and Elizabeth High Baker Professor of Child Developmental Psychology at Washington University in St. Louis, and she directs the Reading and Language Lab there. Dr. Treiman’s research focuses on language and language development. She is especially interested in the linguistic factors that affect the development of spelling and reading. Her publications include the books Beginning to spell: A study of first-grade children (1993), How children learn to write words (2014, co-authored with Brett Kessler), and The Oxford Handbook of Reading (2015, co-edited with Alexander Pollatsek). She has also written many journal articles and chapters, over 200 publications in all. Dr. Treiman was the Editor in Chief of the Journal of Memory and Language from 1997 to 2001, and she currently serves on the editorial boards of several other journals. She was awarded the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading in 2014.
Spelling is an important aspect of literacy development, but researchers and educators typically pay less attention to spelling than to reading. The goal of this presentation is to show that there is a science of spelling development and to present some of the main findings. I review studies looking at populations ranging from toddlers to adults, examining how different aspects of spelling skill develop. The focus is on English, but studies of other languages are considered as well. I also discuss implications for instruction, both for typically developing children and children who experience problems in learning to read and spell.