Rapid automatic naming (RAN) or rapid naming is the ability to quickly verbalize a series of familiar items including letters, numbers, colors or things. Research purports that RAN tests are highly correlated to one’s reading abilities because the faster and more efficiently one can access information from the memory banks, the easier it is to read and comprehend text.
How Does Rapid Automatic Naming Happen in the Brain?
Although we know RAN impacts reading, there are three competing viewpoints in the literature. One view indicates that RAN involves how well one can retrieve phonological information and then verbalize a response. The difficulties lie in the brain’s ability to process sounds into language. Another theory indicates that RAN is a “complex set of cognitive processing” areas that work together in concert thus defining one’s reading fluency capabilities. This perspective further suggests that individuals with RAN and phonemic awareness difficulties have a “double deficit.” These individuals are believed to exhibit the most severe reading problems and tend to be the most difficult to remediate. Finally, there are those studies that suggest that struggling readers have an overarching processing speed deficit. They report that slow processing of sounds diminishes the ability to discriminate between phonemes and that this language learning problem likely causes dyslexia.
What Can Be Done to Improve Rapid Automatic Naming?
I have two primary recommendations. On the one hand, you should teach those that struggle with RAN memory strategies. Using methods like mnemonics, method of loci, visualization or hooking can assist the brain's ability to recall information. On the other hand, you should play games that exercise recall. Games are a motivating option for strengthening RAN. There are many games that require word retrieval and they place time constraints on players too. Several rapid naming/word retrieval games are listed below. Also, don’t be afraid to create your own games!
- Hey What’s the Big Idea
- Spot it
- Catch Phrase
- Last Word
Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials. She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Go Dyslexia, in Ossining, NY. To learn more about her products and services, you can go to https://godyslexia.com/, www.goodsensorylearning.com, www.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz