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Patricia L. Scharer & Jerry Zutell

In: The SAGE Handbook of Early Childhood Literacy

Chapter 26: The Development of Spelling

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The Development of Spelling
The development of spelling
Patricia L.Scharer and JerryZutell

In The Barnhart Dictionary of Etymology (Barnhart, 1988), the verb to spell is defined first as to ‘name the letters of.’ Along with the related noun form, spell, meaning ‘words supposed to have magical powers, incantation, charm,’ to spell is related to an older root, ‘… in part probably developed from Old English spellian to tell, declare, relate, speak,’ (1988: 1044) and occurs in compound form in Gospel, the good story of Christ's life on earth. Spelling is clearly an important aspect of effective written communication, of our ability to tell our stories well. (Ironically, given the definition of the noun form, English spelling often also has the reputation of being mysterious and/or mystifying. Good ...

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