The masked priming procedure has been widely used in adult psycholinguistic research as a means of exploring early and automatic processes in written word recognition. In this chapter, we discuss the recent extension of this technique for use in exploring written vocabulary development in children learning to read. We first report data to show that robust masked priming effects can be produced in children as young as 7 years old. We then outline the results of some recent orthographic and phonological priming studies that illustrate how masked priming data can uncover the processes by which children access written word representations and the ways in which these processes may change as children gradually learn more words.
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