This study analyzed the spelling skills of Italian children as a function of school experience. We examined the writing performances of 465 first- to eighth- grade normal readers on a spelling test that included regular words, context-sensitive regular words, words with ambiguous transcription, and regular pseudowords. Based on the dual-route model (DRM), the regularity and orthographic complexity effects were considered to probe sublexical processing while the lexicality effect was taken to mark lexical processing. The analysis of spelling performances indicated that, among Italian children, both lexical and sublexical procedures are available since the first year of schooling. However, the two procedures showed different developmental trends. The DRM appears as a useful theoretical framework to describe the devel- opment of spelling in a relatively regular language such as Italian
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