Some inconsistency is observed in the results from studies of reading development regarding the role of the syllable in visual word recognition, perhaps due to a disparity between the tasks used. We adopted a word-spotting paradigm, with Spanish children of second grade (mean age: 7 years) and sixth grade (mean age: 11 years). The children were asked to detect one-syllable words that could be found at the beginning of pseudo-words, with the boundary between the word and the remaining letters being manipulated. The end of the embedded word could either match the syllabic boundary (e.g. the word FIN in the pseudo-word FINLO, where the syllable boundary is between N and L) or not (e.g. FINUS, where the syllable boundary is located between I and N). The results showed that children of both grades were faster in the syllabic than the non-syllabic condition, and that the magnitude of this effect was the same regardless of reading ability. The results suggest an early universality in the use of syllables in Spanish, regardless of reading level.