Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology


Communicative Disorders

First Advisor

Alisa Baron


Although literacy skills, as typically measured by reading accuracy and fluency, are known to greatly influence a child’s later academic and social success, national literacy rates continue to decrease across grade levels. Research has shown that serial rapid automatized naming (RAN) is one of the best predictors of reading fluency; however, there is significant variability regarding the specific relationship between RAN and reading as noted between meta-analyses, age groups, RAN stimuli, and measures of socioeconomic status (SES). This study aims to investigate the relationship between serial RAN and 1) real word reading fluency and 2) socioeconomic status (SES) across thirty-three first and second grade participants. Specifically, RAN was measured by rapid letter naming (RLN) and rapid digit naming (RDN) raw scores, and real word reading fluency was determined utilizing the eye-tracking measure of gaze duration. To prevent bias in determining SES based on one measure alone, SES was calculated in three ways: mother’s education, free and/or reduced lunch services, and a composite measure of parental education and occupation. The results indicated that RAN and gaze duration are not correlated when the first and second grade participants are combined in analyses. However, when analyzed separately, gaze duration and RAN were correlated for the second grade only. It is possible that correlations were not significant in first grade as there was a smaller sample size and their reading skills were weaker than second grade students. It is possible that RAN may be a more useful measure of reading fluency only when students become more skilled readers. In research, it is common that first and second grades are grouped together and labeled as “beginning readers.” To gain a better understanding of RAN’s correlation with reading fluency across grade levels it may be best to separate first and second grades in future studies as there is significant variability in reading skills between these two grades. As both RLN and RDN were significantly correlated with our measure of reading fluency (gaze duration) for second grade participants, RLN and RDN may be useful diagnostic tools within a comprehensive evaluation of reading fluency for students who are more skilled readers. Lastly, the results indicate that RAN and SES were not correlated across all three indicators of SES. It is possible that the small and relatively homogenous sample size may negatively impact the correlation strength. The results of the insignificant RAN-SES correlations across all three measures suggest that RAN may be unrelated to SES. Therefore, it is possible that RAN is a more innate ability rather than a skill that can be influenced by external factors like SES. However, future research with larger and more heterogeneous sample sizes is necessary.



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