The development of orthographic processing skills in children in early French immersion programs
Children learning to read in two languages are faced with orthographic features from both languages, either unique to a language or similar across languages. In the present study, we examined how children develop orthographic processing skills over time (from grade 1 to grade 2) with a sample of Canadian children attending a French immersion program and we investigated the underlying factor structure of orthographic skills across English and French. Two orthographic processing tasks were administered in both languages: lexical orthographic processing (e.g. choose the correct spelling from people–peeple) and sub-lexical orthographic processing (e.g. which is the more word-like vaid–vayd?), which included both language-specific and language-shared orthographic regularities. Children’s performances in sub-lexical tasks increased with grade but were comparable across languages. Further, evidence for a one factor model including all measures suggested that there is a common underlying orthographic processing skill that cuts across measurement and language variables.