Variations in spelling style among lexical and sublexical readers

Anne Castles*, V. M. Holmes, Matthew Wong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


This study examined whether whole-word (or lexical) and spelling-sound rule (or sublexical) patterns of reliance could be identified in children's spelling and whether there was consistency across reading and spelling domains. A group of 128 children was assessed on their reading and spelling of regular, irregular, and nonwords. Compatible with Treiman (1984), the pairwise correlations indicated that both lexical and sublexical processes were involved in spelling. When two subgroups differing in reading reliance were selected, their respective spelling patterns were found to be consistent with their reading styles: The sublexically reliant group performed better at spelling nonwords and made more regularization errors on irregular words, while the lexically reliant subjects were more likely to make errors containing partial lexical information when spelling irregular words. The results are consistent with dual-route accounts of the skilled spelling system and also have implications for lexical acquisition processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-118
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1997
Externally publishedYes


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