Studies investigating the interaction between lexical and sublexical information in a developmental context are rare and mainly focussed on reading abilities. The present study investi- gated the interaction between the lexical and sublexical spelling procedures by studying the effects of orthographic neighborhood on pseudoword spelling in Italian primary school children. A spell- ing-to-dictation task was administered to 63 typically developing children: 31 attending third grade and 32 attending fifth grade. Stimuli were pseudowords derived from high- or low-frequency words by changing either the first (early diverging pseudoword) or the fourth letter (late diverging pseudo- word). The stimuli varied also for length (short vs. long). Results highlighted facilitatory lexical effects on pseudoword spelling. Long pseudowords were spelled as accurately as short stimuli if derived from high-frequency based words. Furthermore, early diverging pseudowords, if derived from high-frequency words, were spelled more accurately than other types of stimuli. The results supported the view that, similarly to what predicted for opaque orthographies by current models of spelling, lexical information is exploited also by young learners of a transparent orthography such as Italian.
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