Theoretical models for lexical access to visual objects have been based mainly on adult data. To investigate the developmental aspects of object recognition and lexical access in children, a large-scale functional MRI (fMRI) study was performed in 283 normal children ages 5–18 using a word–picture matching paradigm in which children would match an aurally presented noun to one of two pictures (line drawings). Using group Independent Component Analysis (ICA), six task-related components were detected, including (a) the posterior superior temporal gyrus bilaterally; (b) the fusiform, inferior temporal, and middle occipital gyri bilaterally; (c) the dorsal aspect of the inferior frontal gyrus bilaterally, the left precuneus, the left superior/middle temporal gyrus, and the anterior cingulate; (d) the right medial fusiform gyrus; (e) a left-lateralized component including the inferior/middle frontal, middle temporal, medial frontal, and angular gyri, as well as the thalamus and the posterior cingulate; and (f) the ventral/anterior aspect of the inferior frontal gyrus bilaterally. Increased activation associated with age was seen in the components (b) and (d) (ventral visual pathway) for object recognition, and (c) and (f) likely associated with semantic maintenance and response selection. Increased activation associated with task performance was seen in components (b) and (d) (ventral visual pathway) while decreased activation associated with task performance was seen in component (f) (ventral/anterior inferior frontal gyrus). The results corroborate the continued development of the ventral visual pathway throughout the developmental period. Hum Brain Mapp 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.