Over the last twenty years a major area of cognitive psychology has developed centred upon research into the issues of how visually presented words are processed so that they can be read and understood. The focus has been on how words are stored in the mental lexicon and retrieved during the reading process. If we possessed no mental lexicon, we would be unable to read. This book dedicates itself to a critical evaluation of the ideas that have emerged from this body of research. The text outlines the major models of lexical processing that have been put forward in the literature, and how they explain the basic empirical findings that have been reported. It then goes on to consider the possible influence that sentential context has on lexical processing, the impact of the pronunciation of a word on its visual processing, and the role played by internal word structure (i.e., syllables and morphemes) in the recognition of a word. A connectionist style model emerges during the course of the evaluation of these issues. This book is suitable for advanced students and researchers, and is intended to serve as a springboard for discussion and an inspiration for empirical research.