Cross-language transfer of orthographic processing skills: a study of French children who learn English at school

Eva Commissaire, Lynne G. Duncan, Severine Casalis

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    20 Citations (Scopus)


    This study explores the nature of orthographic processing skills among French-speaking children in Grades 6 and 8 who are learning English at school as a second language (L2). Two aspects of orthographic processing skills are thought to form a convergent construct in monolingual beginning readers: word-specific knowledge (e.g. rain-rane) and sensitivity to sub-lexical regularities (e.g. schoal-sckoal). The present study examines these components in the first language (L1) reading of older children and charts the cross-language transfer of orthographic skills during the first 3 years of L2 learning. Word-specific orthographic knowledge in L2 correlates with L1 reading speed and results reveal direct cross-language transfer for this component of orthographic processing skill. However, no evidence is found for transfer of sensitivity to sub-lexical regularities. The concept of cross-language transfer in relation to these different components of orthographic processing is discussed with reference to L1 and L2 literacy skills in this school acquisition context.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)59-76
    Number of pages18
    JournalJournal of Research in Reading
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011

    Cite this