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Gangl, Melanie; Moll, Kristina; Banfi, Chiara; Huber, Stefan; Schulte-Koerne, Gerd; Landerl, Karin (2018): Reading strategies of good and poor readers of German with different spelling abilities. In: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, Vol. 174: pp. 150-169
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Reading and spelling abilities are thought to be highly correlated during development, and orthographic knowledge is assumed to underpin both literacy skills. Interestingly, recent studies showed that reading and spelling skills can also dissociate. The current study investigated whether spelling skills (indicating orthographic knowledge) are associated with the application of orthographic strategies during reading. We examined eye movements of 137 third- and fourth-graders who were either good or poor readers with or without a spelling deficit: 43 children with typical reading and spelling skills, 28 with isolated spelling deficits, 28 with isolated reading deficits, and 38 with combined reading and spelling deficits. Although we expected to find reduced reliance on orthographic reading processes among poor spellers, this was evident for the group with combined deficits only. Both isolated deficit groups applied sublexical and lexical processes in a similar amount to typically developing children. Our findings suggest that reading rests on orthographic strategies even if lexical representations are poor as indicated by a deficit in spelling skills. Findings also show that dysfluent reading does not result only from overrehance on decoding.