[PS-2.7] Lexical orthographic acquisition: Is handwriting better than spelling aloud?

Bosse, M. 1, 2

1 LPNC, CNRS, Grenoble, France
2 University Joseph Fourier, Grenoble, France

According to the self-teaching hypothesis (e.g., Share, 1995), the acquisition of lexical orthographic knowledge is accumulated largely via the process of successful decoding. This acquisition is currently described as the build of links between visual forms and auditory forms of whole words (e.g., Ehri, 2005). However, a growing number of data suggests that a motor component could also be involved in orthographic acquisition (e.g., Cunningham & Stanovich, 1990; Longcamp, Zerbato-poudou, & Velay, 2005; Rapp & Lipka, 2011). One study (Shahar-Yames & Share, 2008) supported the idea that handwriting is a better lexical orthographic self-teaching situation than reading. However, this study couldn?t distinguish the role of the motor component and the role of the short term memory component, both involved during the handwriting task and not during the reading task. The aim of the present study is to determine whether the motor component is involved in the orthographic acquisition process, independently from the short term memory component. Fifth graders had to read new words embedded in short sentences. Each item contained at least one inconsistent grapheme. Immediately after reading, participants were systematically asked to remember items? orthography. For half of the items, they had to spell the item aloud. For the other half, they had to write the item by hand. One week after, orthographic acquisition was tested with both a spelling to dictation task and a recognition task of the items. Results show a significant effect of the learning condition in the spelling to dictation task only. Items were better remembered when they had been handwritten than when they had been spelled aloud during the learning phase. Results confirm Shahar-Yames & Share results (2008) and suggest that the motor component of orthographic memorization could be more activated during word production than during word recognition.