A patient with alexia and agraphia had intact spelling and comprehension of spelled words and used a letter-naming strategy to read and write. We propose that there is a graphemic area important for distinguishing graphemic features and for programming movements used in writing. In this patient this area was not functioning or did not have access to the area of visual word imagés. Therefore, he used an ideographic letter-naming strategy to verbally circumvent his disability and gain access to the area of visual word images. © 1981.