Auditory Processing and Spelling

What is Auditory Processing?

Have you ever heard a new word and tried to spell it? Doing this helps you to remember the new word. The task of reading new words is much easier than spelling new words. Reading words is the process of decoding. Spelling is the process of encoding. These are two sides of the same coin. Decoding is sounding out words. Encoding is figuring out how to spell words.

That being said, the act of spelling brings your letter knowledge and phonemic awareness together. Phonemic awareness is the ability to match the sounds you hear with the letters that represent them. This is also the ability to manipulate sounds and use the sounds of oral language.

So, let’s look at phonemic awareness. It is typically taught in the early grades and then forgotten about. That is one reason that many kids and even adults have difficulty with spelling. Manipulating sounds with the letters that represent them grows as you grow. Reviewing this skill as you spell longer words improves your spelling. This, then, improves your overall auditory processing and listening skills.

The Auditory Processing and Spelling Connection

We all take in information through the sense of hearing (auditory), seeing (visual), and doing (tactile/kinesthetic). Each of these systems is critical to our ability to learn with ease. So, incorporating them into a reading and spelling program is important.

Auditory processing skills are foundational to read, spell, and write. The first steps in learning are not just visual, they are also auditory. A baby can hear a mother’s voice before being born. Toddlers refine the sounds they hear. This is the beginning of phonemic awareness. The early grades teach you to refine your auditory processing skills. This includes phonemic awareness and phonics. These skills are used throughout school and life.

Phonemic awareness is your ability to hear, identify, and manipulate individual sounds – phonemes – in spoken words. Phonics is the next step in the process. It is the ability to relate the auditory sounds to a visual symbol, a letter or group of letters. This is how we spell. We take the sounds we hear and put the letters that represent them together to spell the words.

Areas of Auditory Processing that are the Foundations of Spelling

Auditory Discrimination

Auditory discrimination is the most familiar area of auditory processing. This is the ability to discriminate between individual sounds or words that are similar or different in the way they sound. For example: very and berry, mob and mop, half and have.

9 Areas of Auditory Processing

Auditory-Visual Integration

This is both an auditory processing area and a visual processing area. The ability to accurately relate an auditory sound to a visual symbol is how we use letters to represent sounds.

Auditory Closure

Auditory closure is the ability to combine sounds together to make words. This is often referred to as sound blending. Given the individual sounds ‘b’, ‘a‘, and ‘t’; can you pull them together to make the word ‘bat‘? β€˜Filling in’ the missing piece of a word is another part of auditory closure. If I were to say β€˜to _a toβ€˜, can you fill in the missing β€˜m‘ and say β€˜tomatoβ€˜?

Auditory Figure-Ground

Figure-ground is attending to instruction when there is background noise. An example is when your kids are watching television and you ask them to do something, do they do it? Did they even hear you? Or are they distracted by the background noise of the television?

These are four of the nine areas of auditory processing that impact spelling, reading, and overall learning.

The Structure of the English Language

The first step is to understand how we put sounds together with letters to make words. In the English language, we do this in 8 ways. These 8 ways are the 8 spelling patterns. We only put letters together 8 ways to make words. For example, most of us know the vowel-consonant pattern. This is where the vowels give their short sound. They do that in the words: ‘hat’, ‘set’, ‘it’, ‘pot’, ‘fun’, and the two-syllable word ‘picnic‘.

Scholar Within’s Reading Program incorporates 9 Areas of Auditory Processing

Scholar Within’s Reading Program uses proven methods that improve your auditory processing system:

  1. Reading Fluency Training that Incorporates Phonemic Awareness
  2. Rapid Naming Activities
  3. Phonics and Spelling Video Lessons
  4. Auditory Memory Activities
  5. Auditory Discrimination Activities
  6. Auditory Figure-Ground Activities
  7. Executive Function (Planning Skills)
  8. Brain-Body Connection Activities

Get Started

Who is Scholar Within?

Scholar Within was founded by learning expert Bonnie Terry, M. Ed., BCET. Bonnie began designing and developing her own custom educational tools when she started her private learning center in the 1990s. Soon, teachers began to ask what she was using with the kids who saw her. The teachers saw the dramatic improvements that the kids made in school. From there, Bonnie decided to make her materials available to teachers and families worldwide.

Now, Bonnie Terry has turned her materials into a full-service online program that you can follow step-by-step at home, on your schedule. School alone is not enough anymore. Bonnie’s programs boost your kid’s overall learning skills by focusing on improving the auditory, visual, and tactile processing areas of your brain to make it work more efficiently.

Learn more about Scholar Within.

Reading and Spelling: Decoding and Encoding

How are Reading and Spelling Connected?

Reading and spelling are two sides of the same coin. In order to do one part well, you need the other part. In order to read, you need to decode (sound out) words. In order to spell, you need to encode words. In other words, pull the sounds apart within a word and match letters to the sounds. Encoding and decoding combine the components of auditory and visual processing. Here, phonemic awareness and phonics come together in the process of reading.

This is the reason why Scholar Within’s reading program includes spelling and phonics lessons. When you are able to spell more easily, you are also able to read more easily.

Phonemic Awareness Is Necessary for Reading and Spelling

Phoneme Blending

Phonemic awareness is your ability to manipulate the sounds in language. This is your ability to hear, identify, and manipulate individual sounds, phonemes, in spoken words. Then, you combine the phonemes to form a word. This is known as blending. You blend the individual sounds together to form a word. /c/ /a/ /t/ is cat. This is the process of decoding words.

Phoneme Segmentation

When you break a spoken word into its separate sounds, phonemes, you spell the word. This is known as encoding. This process is used when you spell a word phonetically. For example, there are five sounds in the word strip: /s/ /t/ /r/ /i/ /p/.

Combining Decoding and Encoding

So, pulling these two steps together, you are able to both sound out words, decode them, and spell them, encode them. Learning how we put letters together to make words improves your ability to read. The relationship between phonemic awareness, reading, and spelling is complimentary. As you improve your spelling skills, you improve your reading skills. As you improve your reading skills by working with sound/symbol relationships, you improve your spelling skills.

Research Supports Combining Reading and Spelling

Mandi Johnson, M. Ed., author of The Relationship Between Spelling Ability and Reading Fluency and Comprehension in Elementary Students, 2013 states:

“If students have a higher knowledge of spelling, they are able to make more sense of the words that they are reading; therefore, it is easier for them to remember what is being read.”

Dr. Louisa Moats, author of How Spelling Supports Reading states:

“Spelling is a critical element not only in reading fluency and comprehension but also across the curriculum in all subject areas. It is shown that students who improve in spelling instruction, also improve in writing fluency and reading word-attack skills. If students have a higher knowledge of spelling, they are able to make more sense of the words that they are reading; therefore, it is easier for them to remember what is being read. ”

“Research shows that learning to spell and learning to read rely on much of the same underlying knowledge. Learn more about the relationships between letters and sounds and how a proper understanding of spelling mechanics can lead to improved reading.”

Additionally, according to the 2007 study by Wilma Jongejan, Ludo Verhoeven, and Linda S. Siegel titled Predictors of Reading and Spelling Abilities in First-and Second-Language Learners:

“Phonological awareness was found to be of great importance for the development of literacy skills in both first and second language learners. The training of phonological awareness skills should, therefore, be encouraged for children of all linguistic backgrounds.”

Apply the Research

Look at the two sides of the coin: decoding and encoding. The research supports it. Reading programs should include a spelling component to help students master reading skills at a faster rate. So, we include spelling with our reading program. This solidifies the overall fluency and comprehension skills.

Download Free Reading Fluency Drill

Many parents and teachers have asked if they could try our reading fluency activities, so we have made the first reading drill available to download. This free drill helps your students work on their decoding skills.

Reading Fluency Training

Download Reading Fluency Drill

After-School Reading Program with Spelling and Phonics

Give your kids an academic advantage this year with our step-by-step, results-driven After-School Reading Program with spelling and phonics. Learn through our custom-designed visual, auditory, and tactile methods that actually help your brain work more efficiently and make learning easier.

Learn More

Who is Scholar Within?

Scholar Within was founded by learning expert Bonnie Terry, M. Ed., BCET. Bonnie began designing and developing her own custom educational tools when she started her private learning center in the 1990s. Teachers kept asking what she was using with the kids who saw her because of the dramatic improvements that the kids made in school. From there, Bonnie decided to make her materials available to teachers and families worldwide.

Now, Bonnie Terry has turned her materials into a full-service online program that you can follow step-by-step at home, on your schedule. School alone is not enough anymore. Bonnie’s programs boost your kid’s overall learning skills by focusing on improving the auditory, visual, and tactile processing areas of your brain to make it work more efficiently.

Learn more about Scholar Within.

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