Rapid Automatized Naming (RAN) is the ability to quickly and accurately name objects, pictures, colors, letters or numbers. It’s a cognitive process that plays a role in reading fluency, along with other big players like phonological processing and letter-sound knowledge. RAN is often referred to as naming speed.
Measures of RAN offer an inside look at how well a student can retrieve stored data, which can help predict later reading fluency. The predictive quality leads some to think of RAN scores as a direct measure of reading abilities. This is not always the case.
Not who gets support. But what.
That warning sign to look more deeply is how RAN can function as a kind of check engine light. As educators, it’s our job to investigate further to determine if literacy skills are at risk. We can think of RAN not as a determination of who will get targeted instruction, but if literacy skills are at risk, what type of instruction is needed.
Repeated practice allows for multiple exposures to new content, and multimodal instruction allows for many more connections. This type of instruction will not increase a student’s naming speed; however, it will strengthen connections to content, allowing for quicker recall.
Helping focus instruction.
RAN is not something that can be improved. Although naming speed is likely to increase with age, it will generally stay consistent over time. In the relationship of RAN to early literacy skills, the point will be to focus on the accurate and automatic identification of letter-sound relationships, as well as phonological processing ability, to improve and foster the reading success of our students.
Norton, Elizabeth & Wolf, Maryanne. (2010). Rapid Automatized Naming (RAN) and Reading Fluency: Implications for Understanding and Treatment of Reading Disabilities. Annual review of psychology. 63. 427-52. 10.1146/annurev-psych-120710-100431