Robin van Rijthoven

63 Response to phonics through spelling intervention 3 GPCs correctly, the child was asked to accelerate by decreasing the time a flashcard was shown and accelerate the speed of letter dictation. In the end, the child had to name every letter in one second. All GPCs, including combinations of letters that were associated with phonemes, were presented on a mnemonic card and divided into categories (e.g., vowels that sound long vs. vowels that sound short). (2) The alphabetical principle in writing and reading (accuracy and efficiency) The next phase of intervention was the use of letter knowledge in reading and writing words. At first, children learned to write words using a four-step strategy: repetition of the auditory offered word, dividing the word into individual phonemes, writing the individual graphemes one-by-one until the word was finished, and finally checking the written word by reading it out loud. In the beginning, children had to write simple words (e.g., CVC, CVVC), but difficulty gradually increased (e.g., CCVVV, CCVVVC, CCCVCC). When children mastered these levels, the same five-step strategy was used but now dividing/writing in syllables instead of individual phonemes. At the same time, reading words was practiced by naming words using flashcards. Depending on their level of reading ability, children were asked to read the individual letters or syllables of the word and then sound out the word or directly sound out the word. At first, only accuracy was trained and later on also efficiency was trained. During the intervention, the difficulty of words on the flashcards gradually increased based on the child’s reading level. The trained words re-appeared in reading texts. The text was read repeatedly to stimulate accuracy and efficiency. Feedback was given on accuracy and later also on efficiency. When word reading became more difficult, text reading shifted to higher levels as well. (3) Rules and exceptions Dutch is a rather transparent language, but still rules and exceptions need to be learned to write and read words (mostly polysyllabic words) correctly. In spelling four main rules were taught. First, the writing of words that end on the phoneme /t/ was learned. In Dutch these words can be written with “t” or “d” on the end of the word (e.g., hond [dog], boot [ship]). Bymaking a word plural it is possible to hear a /t/ or a /d/ (e.g., honden [dogs], boten [ships]). Whatever consonant is heard in the plural form must be written in the singular word as well. The second category concerns words with /gt/, which can be written as “gt” or “cht” (e.g., zaagt [saws], lucht [air]). Whenever a short sound vowel is placed before /gt/, then a “cht” needs to be written (lucht [air]). The third and fourth rules were combined because for both rules words need to be divided into syllables. When a syllable ends with a long vowel this is written short (/raa-men/  ra-men [windows]), but when it ends with a short vowel the next consonant is doubled (/ki-pen/  kippen [chickens]).