School of Psychological Science

Postgraduate Profiles


Kamariani Houlis

Phone: (+61 8) 6488 4857

Start date

Feb 2011

Submission date

Feb 2015

Kamariani Houlis

Kamariani Houlis profile photo


Why does rapid automatised naming (RAN) predict literacy?


This study will clarify and extend previous work on factors that contribute to literacy development. There is confusion in the literature about the best approach to studying the multi-componential nature of reading and spelling. Rapid automatised naming (RAN) which measures the speed of naming an array of highly familiar items such as colours, objects, numbers or letters, has been found to be one of the core deficits involved in literacy failure (Wolf & Bowers, 1999). RAN has also emerged as a good predictor of literacy (Davis & Bryant, 2006; Houlis, Heath, & Hogben, in preparation; Wolf & Bowers, 1999). However, it is still not known what factors underlie this relationship between RAN and literacy. Clarification of possible factors involved would be important for both effective literacy instruction and intervention in cases of literacy failure.

This study will firstly examine factors that could account for individual differences in RAN; and secondly, attempt to answer the question of whether RAN as a speeded measure correlates with literacy because it taps into some underlying or more general speed of processing (which may also be related to intelligence) or because it captures speed of access to lexical representations (i.e., information stored in the brain about words) especially word specific orthographic information (i.e., the written form of any given word), or both. To answer this question, different aspects of speed of processing (SoP; i.e., inspection time, reaction time and visual-motor speed) and also speed of orthographic lexical access will be examined. Results will help reveal which type(s) of information processing speed is/are mostly related to RAN and the pathways through which these factors influence literacy. Finally, this research will investigate these factors and the relationships between them in groups of children suggested by the Double Deficit Hypothesis (Wolf & Bowers, 1999). The Double Deficit Hypothesis suggests that some children can have a) only low phonological awareness (low awareness of speech sounds); b) only slow RAN (slow naming of rows of letters, numbers, objects and colours); or c) both low phonological awareness and slow RAN. These results will help develop programs to assist children that fall into these categories.

Why my research is important

The proposed study will advance our understanding of problems in reading and spelling in ways that can contribute to further theoretical progress and interventions. In particular, recent research has suggested that RAN influences the level of fluency in literacy and especially in reading. This study has the potential to particularly further our understanding of the relationships between RAN and reading and spelling.


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Last updated:
Friday, 23 January, 2015 3:27 PM