Degree Name

Master of Education (Hons.)


Centre for Studies in Literacy


Operating within a Naturalistic Paradigm, this study illuminates the spelling development of one child through the transition from home to school. Observed over an eighteen month period, the subject of the study was the author's son, Tim, who was four years and one month old at the commencement of the project.

A co-researcher was used in the school observation period to negate any adverse reaction by Tim, which would occur by my presence in the classroom.

Data analysis was based on a dualistic approach incorporating the notion of "Grounded Theory" (Glaser and Strauss 1967) and the analytical process termed "Content Analysis" by Stone, Dunphy, Smith and Ogilvie (1966).

The resulting synthesis revealed striking qualitative similarities to the research undertaken by Temple & Gillet (1989). However their research suggests that the learning to spell process occurs within a "ladder model" of sequential progression, while this study revealed the process to be based on a complex grid of recursive and overlapping patterns. The strategies Tim employed, although convoluted, operated in parallel with each other, rather than lower order forms leading directly into the dynamics of the following stages.