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Orthographic advantage theory: National advantage and disadvantage arising from impacts of spelling complexity

Considerable research reports nations differ in orthographic complexity (regularity and consistency of spelling patterns used); that this impacts ease and speed of reading and writing development; and that, in contrast to the world’s many regular‐orthography nations, English word‐reading and word‐writing development is extremely slow, with difficulties more frequent and severe (Knight, Galletly & Gargett, 2017; Seymour, Aro, & Erskine, 2003; Share, 2008). Orthographic Advantage Theory proposes that, according to their level of orthographic complexity, nations experience disadvantage and potential advantage in multiple areas of education and national functioning. Building from current cross‐linguistic theories and research on cross‐linguistic differences, it proposes six dimensions of orthographic advantage and disadvantage, namely: ease of early literacy development; simplified school instruction and learning across primary and secondary school; ease of improving education; impacts of reduced workplace illiteracy; increased adult life advantage; and generational advantage through confidently literate parents being able to effectively support their children’s literacy development. This article details Orthographic Advantage Theory, building from review of research findings that show the major differences in reading development and outcomes in regular‐orthography and Anglophone nations. The theory is offered as a tool for educators and researchers towards optimising reading and literacy outcomes.

Funding

Category 1 - Australian Competitive Grants (this includes ARC, NHMRC)

History

Volume

6

Issue

1

Start Page

5

End Page

29

Number of Pages

25

eISSN

2347-4793

ISSN

2345-7341

Peer Reviewed

Yes

Open Access

No

External Author Affiliations

Queensland Department of Education

Author Research Institute

Centre for Regional Advancement of Learning, Equity, Access and Participation (LEAP)

Era Eligible

Yes

Journal

Asia Pacific Journal of Developmental Differences