Rapid Naming: What is it? How does it Impact Reading?

Rapid naming, often referred to as RAN (Rapid Automatized Naming), is critical to reading skills. It is the aspect of phonologic processing that allows a person to automatically retrieve the names and sounds of letters, symbols, words, word chunks, sentences, and rhymes in a quick and effortless manner.

This ability to retrieve stored information rapidly is directly related to the type of process that one goes through when they are reading. I like to think of it in terms of being able to press the ‘easy button.’ In other words, it is so easy to bring information up it is like you don’t even have to think about it.

In order to make sense of the written word, a child or adult must be able to quickly access and retrieve stored phonemes and/or word or word chunks that are stored in memory.

Rapid Naming (Rapid Automatized Naming or RAN)

Rapid Naming directly correlates with processing speed. When you are able to improve your visual processing speed, you inherently improve your reading skills. If it takes you less time to be able to recognize a shape, letter, or word, you are able to read faster. If it takes you less time to do this, it also means that it takes less effort.

Rapid Automatized Naming (RAN) has been researched for close to three decades. The Rapid Automatized Naming (RAN) Test demonstrates that the majority of children and adults with reading difficulties have problems with rapid naming. In fact, they are slower to process even most familiar symbols and stimuli in the language: letters, numbers, colors, and similar objects.

Snyder and Downey (1995) report from the Denver Reading Study that the accuracy rates of those with reading difficulties and those with normal achieving readers were not significantly different. The only significant differences noted were reaction time and production duration; readers with reading difficulties had significantly longer reaction times and production durations.

Can You Improve Your Rapid Naming Skills?

You can use flash cards of different symbols, shapes, colors, letters, and numbers and have your kids say the name of the objects as you cycle through the cards. But, because we read from left to right, the best way to practice rapid naming is to have shapes, letters, numbers and/or symbols listed from left to right. This activity also helps improve reading fluency and visual tracking skills.

Announcing Rapid Naming Drills in Our Summer Reading Program

As of today, Thursday, June 14, we have just added rapid naming drills to our Summer Reading Program. These drills focus on simple symbols to call upon and to scan from left to right to work on your ability to automatically interpret the symbol as well as to work on your visual processing and tracking skills. This is just one part of our holistic approach to improving reading skills. Additionally, we also have included specific reading fluency drills. Registration is now open.

Sign Up

Who is Bonnie Terry?

Bonnie Terry, M. Ed., BCET is the author of Five Minutes To Better Reading Skills, Ten Minutes To Better Study Skills and numerous others books, reading games, and guides and the Awaken the Scholar Within Programs. She is a Board Certified Educational Therapist and internationally recognized as America’s Leading Learning Specialist and the founder of BonnieTerryLearning.com. Terry is an expert in identifying students’ learning disabilities. Ms. Terry coaches teachers and parents so they can give their child a 2 to 4-year learning advantage in just 45-60 minutes a day. She is a frequent media guest and speaker.

Spelling and Reading: How are they Connected?

Spelling and reading are mirror sides of each other. The spelling side is the encoding of words. The reading side is the decoding of words. These sides work hand in hand. In order to spell a word, you need to pull the word apart, a sound, pattern, or syllable at a time and retrieve the letters that represent those sounds, patterns, and syllables. You then either write them down or say them. The auditory, visual and tactile/kinesthetic memory systems are involved in this process. Think about it, how many times have you spelled a word out-loud and then write it down to double-check your spelling?

Researchers Brenda Rapp and Kate Lipka state, “We find clear evidence of shared substrates for reading and spelling. The results specifically provide strong support for a shared lexical orthographic function in reading and spelling in the left mid-fusiform region.” In other words, there are specific shared areas of the brain that build links between the visual forms and auditory forms of whole words.  Further studies by (Shahar-Yames and Share, 2008; Ouellette, 2010) conclude that practice writing your words brings an advantage to the long-term encoding-retrieval match (memory system retrieving the spelling of words).

So, how do you develop and improve both spelling and reading skills?

Spelling and reading need to be taught in an explicit manner made up of phonics instruction, the structural analysis including prefixes, suffixes, and root words, and comprehension strategies. You also can be taught to increase your rate of rapidly naming objects with specific exercises designed specifically with that in mind. However, you do not want to only do that. Any skill taught in isolation remains that, an improved skill in isolation unless you make the bridge to bring the skill from the isolated practice to real-life practice.

With spelling, you need to be taught in an explicit manner the sounds of the words and how to pull them together to make words. This is part of phonics and structural analysis referred to in the above paragraph. The Summer Reading Program teaches the sounds of the letters, how to put the sounds together to make words, and the several of the 8 structural vowel patterns in the English language. This addresses both encoding and decoding of words. This helps to cement, so to speak, your ability to both encode and decode thousands of words. Additionally, since best practices say these skills should not be taught in isolation, we work on the fluency of decoding words through the fluency portion of the program and comprehension through additional written techniques and games.

Who is Bonnie Terry?

Bonnie Terry, M. Ed., BCET is the author of Five Minutes To Better Reading Skills, Ten Minutes To Better Study Skills and numerous others books, reading games, and guides and the Awaken the Scholar Within Programs. She is a Board Certified Educational Therapist and internationally recognized as America’s Leading Learning Specialist and the founder of BonnieTerryLearning.com. Terry is an expert in identifying students’ learning disabilities. Ms. Terry coaches teachers and parents so they can give their child a 2 to 4-year learning advantage in just 45-60 minutes a day. She is a frequent media guest and speaker.