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Cognition. 2004 Mar;91(2):B11-22.

Lexical orthographic knowledge develops from the beginning of literacy acquisition.

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  • 1F.P.S.E. (Unimail), Geneva, Switzerland. catherine.martinet@pse.unige.ch


This study reports two experiments assessing the spelling performance of French first graders after 3 months and after 9 months of literacy instruction. The participants were asked to spell high and low frequency irregular words (Experiment 1) and pseudowords, some of which had lexical neighbours (Experiment 2). The lexical database which children had been exposed to was strictly controlled. Both a frequency effect in word spelling accuracy and an analogy effect in pseudoword spelling were obtained after only 3 months of reading instruction. The results suggest that children establish specific orthographic knowledge from the very beginning of literacy acquisition.

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