We investigated how and when French children in Grades 1–5 acquire orthographic representations for silent letters and double consonants. Linear mixed-effects modeling analyses on the spelling accuracy scores obtained for 2,519 French words were used to test our predictions. As predicted, the presence of a silent letter or double consonant had a unique detrimental effect on spelling accuracy that was not captured by the inconsistency and complexity generated by these letters, and this effect tended to decrease across grades. Important to note, exposure to more frequent silent-letter endings or double consonants had a facilitative effect over and above consistency that did not seem to change across grades. These findings suggest that children implicitly acquire representations for letters with no phonological value. The results obtained for other predictors also suggest a shift from a lower level, phoneme-based processing to a higher level processing at the word and rime levels as children acquire more reading experience.

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1080/10888438.2018.1482303
Journal Scientific Studies of Reading
Gingras, M. (Maxime), & Sénéchal, M. (2018). Evidence of Statistical Learning of Orthographic Representations in Grades 1–5: The Case of Silent Letters and Double Consonants in French. Scientific Studies of Reading, 1–12. doi:10.1080/10888438.2018.1482303