4.4 Orthographic Mapping

Learning Intentions

After viewing this module session participants will be able to: 

  • Explain the process of orthographic mapping
  • Identify the two skills needed for the efficient orthographic mapping
  • Understand how orthographic mapping is important to establishing sight vocabulary


Watch the session below. 

*Please see the Transcripts resource folder located in Module 0 for a text copy of the transcript from this video. 


  • Orthographic learning results from an intersection between sounds and letters in written words, not by any visual memory process. 

    • Orthographic mapping is the mental process used to store words for instant, effortless retrieval- it generates the sight vocabulary
    • Orthographic mapping connects what is known and already well-established in memory (a word’s pronunciation) with that the reader needs to remember (a word’s spelling)
      • The process is implicit, so the reader typically is not consciously  “trying” to remember; the connection forming processes happens “behind the scenes”

  • The critical skills needed for orthographic mapping are letter-sound proficiency and phonemic proficiency

    • Students with these skills develop reading skills fairly easily
    • Students without these skills struggle in reading

Reflect & Connect

What are the critical aspects of orthographic mapping and how do you think this information may inform our instructional decisions?