Florence Binamé et al., « The development of the abilities to acquire novel detailed orthographic representations and maintain them in long-term memory », ORBi : Sciences sociales & comportementales, psychologie
Previous studies have clearly demonstrated that the development of orthographic representations relies on phonological recoding. However, substantial questions persist about the remaining unexplained variance in the acquisition of word-specific orthographic knowledge that is still underspecified. The main aim of this study was to explore whether two cognitive factors—sensitivity to orthographic regularities and short-term memory (STM) for serial order—make independent contributions to the acquisition of novel orthographic representations beyond that of the phonological core component and the level of preexisting word-specific orthographic knowledge. To this end, we had children from second to sixth grades learn novel written word forms using a repeated spelling practice paradigm. The speed at which children learned the word forms and their long-term retention (1 week and 1 month later) were assessed. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that phonological recoding, preexisting word-specific orthographic knowledge, and order STM explained a portion of the variance in orthographic learning speed, whereas phonological recoding, preexisting word-specific orthographic knowledge, and orthographic sensitivity each explained a portion of variance in the long-term retention of the newly created orthographic representations. A secondary aim of the study was to determine the developmental trajectory of the abilities to acquire novel orthographic word forms over the course of primary schooling. As expected, results showedan effect of age on both learning speed and long-term retention. The specific roles of orthographic sensitivity and order STM as independent factors involved in different steps of orthographic learning are discussed.