“Précis… Why not préci or précie?” “Le chien mord… no, mort. It’s a ‘t’, because it’s in the 3rd person singular…”

What French-speaking child has never racked his brains over which silent letter to put at the end of a word? Morphology and its concomitant grammatical agreements are encoded in a multitude of French words and are one of the greatest challenges when it comes to learning to spell. The concept becomes even more complex and obscure for students who have difficulty manipulating word structures, i.e. with low morphological awareness skills.

This research aims to help these children by focusing on interventions to increase morphological awareness.

This research aims to help these children by focusing on interventions to increase morphological awareness as a means of improving their spelling skills. A professional intervention program was developed and offered to French-speaking Grade 2 students with written language difficulties. The program proved to be effective, i.e. it led to a significant and lasting improvement in the spelling skills of the targeted children. Because morphological awareness can also be integrated into the teaching of spelling in the classroom, a one-time training program was also developed in the context of this research, to train teachers in the use of morphology knowledge in their daily practices for teaching spelling. The program was implemented via the socio-technical infrastructure of the Remote Networked Schools.

The results of this study highlight the importance of developing and implementing targeted interventions on morphology and its relationship to the way words are written in order to optimize the development of spelling skills in children with and without difficulties. Such interventions may take the form of a specialized training program or be integrated into teaching practices in the classroom, beginning in Grade 2.

Main researcher

Marie-Catherine St-Pierre, Université Laval


Research report

Call for proposals

Deposit of the research report: April 2014