Author                                                                                                                              
 


Camille Campion

Psychology

While tutoring Costa Mesa students who were native Spanish speakers, Camille Campion noticed that they had very poor spelling proficiency and that their errors stemmed from the phonological spellings of words. Camille discussed her observations with a professor, Dr. Mann, and her research project soon followed. For Camille the most stimulating part of the research process was analyzing her results to find information that would be helpful to educators of Latino students. After her graduation in the Spring of 2004, Camille travelled extensively through Europe and started a doctoral program in psychology. triangle.gif (504 bytes)

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Abstract                                                                                                                           
 

English orthography differs from the orthography of several other languages due to its use of grapheme-to-morpheme accordance and grapheme-to-phoneme accordance. Native speakers of Spanish, whose orthography is strictly phonetic, may encounter difficulties when spelling in English due to this difference. This study examined the spelling proficiency of sixth- to eighth-grade children who are native speakers of Spanish. Participants were assessed using a 75-word spelling test and a fill-in-the-blank derivational suffix test. The results yielded a significant effect of percent error, phonemes, transparent spelling, deep spelling, and irregular spelling on language. Overall, native speakers of Spanish are less proficient spellers than native speakers of English, presumably due to the difference between the orthographical rules found in the Spanish and English languages. This finding implies that the traditional spelling model does not adequately prepare this population to be proficient spellers of English, and that a new approach to teaching spelling may be beneficial. triangle.gif (504 bytes)

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Faculty Mentor                                                                                                                
 

Virginia Mann

School of 
Social Sciences

It was a pleasure to see Camille hone this study of spelling skills among Latino students. In it, she raised some very practical, ethnologically-valid questions that arose from her experiences as a bilingual individual and as a tutor of struggling students. She used these questions to sharpen her skills for inquiry, research design and analysis as she teased apart the spelling errors that native speakers of Spanish are especially prone to make. We are already thinking of ways to elaborate on her scoring of the data and of ways to extend her hypotheses to younger children. Doing a project like this is a perfect way to prepare for graduate school; I regard Camille's work as on a par with many of the first year graduate projects that I have supervised. It was an honor to work with her. triangle.gif (504 bytes)

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