Visual processing and spelling development: a longitudinal study
Writing is a skill that has become intertwined with daily life, and spelling is an essential skill for writing. In order to optimize the teaching of spelling, a detailed understanding of its development and the factors that affect that development is indispensable. Numerous influences on spelling development have been identified and studied in depth thus far, but one aspect that merits further consideration is visual processing. The present study employed a longitudinal structural equation modeling methodology in order to consider the concurrent and predictive effects of visual processing abilities on both spelling and orthographic processing. Results demonstrated significant concurrent and predictive relationships among these variables, primarily when children are in grades one and two. A significant predictive link was found between exogenous visual attention at the end of grade one and spelling at the beginning of grade two. Additional significant predictive relationships were found between coherent motion detection at the beginning of grade two and orthographic knowledge at the end of grade two as well as between exogenous visual attention at the beginning of grade two and orthographic knowledge at the end of grade two. Concurrent relationships were found, but were limited to grade one. These results have implications for the theoretical understanding of the influence of visual processes on the development of both spelling and orthographic knowledge. Furthermore, these results could potentially contribute to the development of an intervention for spelling that includes a magnocellular dorsal stream training component.
Spelling, Orthographic knowledge, Coherent motion detection, Exogenous visual attention, Longitudinal research