The influence of spelling errors on english language performance among learners with dysgraphia in public primary schools in Lamu County, Kenya
Njenga, Paul Kimani
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This study investigated how spelling errors made by Class Seven learners with dysgraphia impacted on their performance in English. The objectives of the study were to identify the spelling errors that learners with dysgraphia made when writing English words and find out the instructional needs of the participants. Further, the study investigated the remediation strategies that teachers used to address the spelling errors and established how the spelling errors affected the performance of the English language among the study participants. The research was guided by the Connectionist Stimulation of Spelling Process with a view to explaining how participants with learning disabilities spell written words. Data was collected in public primary schools in Lamu County, Kenya, through interviews, pupils’ exercise books, past records, and a standardised spelling inventory. The study used mixed-method research design and relied on random sampling techniques in identifying the participants. A dysgraphia screening test was administered to the sampled learners to verify their eligibility to participate in the study. The study findings revealed that some learners paid attention to the phonological segments of the target word and associated particular letters with the segments, while others substituted letters in a target word or syllable leading to incorrect spelling. The study classified the various identified spelling errors into letter substitutions, deletions, insertions and transpositions, among others. The findings indicated that teachers did not identify the instructional needs of LwD which always made them use remediation strategies that did not address the pupils’ learning strengths and needs. The researcher concluded that it was out of these shortcomings in the teaching of the LwD that led to misspelling of English words in written tasks which consequently brought about the poor performance in English. The researcher recommends creation of public awareness programmes on LD, and early assessment programmes for identifying Special Needs Education learners for adaptive and accommodative interventions.