Neurocognitive studies of visual word recognition have provided information about brain activity correlated with orthographic processing. Some of these studies related the orthographic neighborhood density of letter strings to the amount of hypothetical global lexical activity (GLA) in the brain as simulated by computational models of word recognition. To further investigate this issue, we used GLA of words and nonwords from the multiple read-out model of visual word recognition (MROM) and related this activity to neural correlates of orthographic processing in the brain by using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Words and nonwords elicited linear effects in the cortex with increasing BOLD responses for decreasing values of GLA. In addition, words showed increasing linear BOLD responses for increasing GLA values in subcortical regions comprising the hippocampus, globus pallidus and caudate nucleus. We propose that these regions are involved in the matching of orthographic input onto representations in long-term memory. The results speak to a potential involvement of the basal ganglia in visual word recognition with globus pallidus and caudate nucleus activity potentially reflecting maintenance of orthographic input in working memory supporting the matching of the input onto stored representations by selection of appropriate lexical candidates and the inhibition of orthographically similar but non-matching candidates.