The "orthographic decision" test for evaluating lexical acquisition
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A new test, called orthographic decision test, is proposed for investigating the acquisition of the orthographic lexicon and the assessment of surface dyslexia. Written words are presented coupled either with a pseudohomophone (e.g. SCUOLA [school] vs. SQUOLA), or with an orthographically similar pseudoword (e.g. PRETE [priest] vs. PRELE). The task requires the identification of the correctly spelt word in each stimulus pair. A sample of 361 primary and secondary school children participated in the study. Overall, results showed a consistent difficulty with the word-pseudohomophone pairs, thus revealing that reading depends mainly on the grapheme- to-phoneme conversion mechanism. The analysis of errors allows the identification of surface dislexia, defined as a delay or a persistent deficit in the acquisition of the orthographic lexicon.