Metalinguistic contributions to reading and spelling in second and third grade students

Kenn Apel, Elizabeth B. Wilson-Fowler, Danielle Brimo, Nancy A. Perrin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


Minimal research has been conducted on the simultaneous influence of multiple metalinguistic, linguistic, and processing skills that may impact literacy development in children who are in the process of learning to read and write. In this study, we assessed the phonemic awareness, morphological awareness, orthographic awareness, receptive vocabulary, and rapid naming abilities of second and third grade students (N = 56) and determined how these abilities predicted the children's reading and spelling skills. Regression analyses revealed that morphological awareness was the sole unique contributor to spelling and, together with orthographic awareness, uniquely contributed to word recognition. Morphological awareness also was significantly related to reading comprehension. The results add to a growing literature base providing evidence that early literacy development is influenced by morphological awareness, an ability that has received considerably less educational attention. Additionally, the findings point to the importance of tapping into multiple sources of metalinguistic knowledge when providing instruction in reading and spelling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1283-1305
Number of pages23
JournalReading and Writing
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Morphological awareness
  • Orthographic awareness
  • Phonemic awareness
  • Reading
  • Spelling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


Dive into the research topics of 'Metalinguistic contributions to reading and spelling in second and third grade students'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this