Deep vs. Surface Instruction
Is your child getting deep or surface reading and spelling instruction? How can you tell and does it matter?
In the 1970s Marton and Säljö (1976) described two types of learning approaches based on clinical studies of students:
A student’s learning approach is not a personality trait; rather, it is produced by the interaction of the student with specific learning tasks.
Reading and Spelling Instruction
Students taught to read and spell with a “deep” approach would be expected to use a specific procedure to sound out and spell novel words, to explain spelling patterns and to correct errors.
Reading and spelling instruction may use both “deep” and “shallow” types of instruction at different times. Students with dyslexia have difficulty with the “surface” approach and benefit greatly from a “deep” approach. This is the basis for structured literacy intervention, which has been shown to help struggling readers and spellers develop an understanding of how words work. Of course, teaching with a “deep” approach requires a teacher who has deep knowledge of word structure.
For example, a teacher with deep word structure knowledge will be able to answer these 10 questions:
If you aren’t sure, ask a Lexercise therapist!
Sandie is a speech-language pathologist with more than 30 years of experience in the private practice sector. She is Visiting Assistant Professor of Communication Sciences & Disorders at University of North Carolina Greensboro, and founder/owner of the Language & Learning Clinic, PLLC, a private practice in Elkin, NC, and Greensboro, NC, specializing in communication disorders, including disorders of reading and written language.