[PS-1.4] Investigating the relationship between spelling and handwriting: longitudinal evidence from French-speaking primary school children

Gosse, C. & Van Reybroeck, M.

Université catholique de Louvain

At the beginning of primary school, children discover writing, which requires the development of two crucial abilities: spelling and handwriting. The present study aims to explore the evolution of the relationship between spelling and handwriting during development.

The participants at T1 were 145 French-speaking children in Grades 2 and 3. They were tested again twice with a year interval (Grades 3/4 at T2; Grades 4/5 at T3). At each measurement time, children were administered standardised tasks in reading, spelling, handwriting and a single-word dictation task on a digital tablet. The 40 target words varied in orthographic complexity (regular vs. irregular) and in graphic complexity (simple vs. difficult). This task was scored on spelling accuracy, handwriting quality and speed.

The GLMM analyses conducted on T1 and T2 demonstrated several impacts of word orthographic and graphic complexity: handwriting quality is poorer for irregular words for all children and spelling performance of children in Grades 2 and 3 is negatively impacted by graphic complexity (no effect in Grade4). Additional data collected at T3 will allow Structural Equation Modeling analyses: longitudinal analyses of the reciprocal effects between handwriting and spelling abilities (cross-lagged effects) will be presented at the conference.