Rapid Automatized Naming (RAN) measures and their relationship to reading in diverse Spanish-speaking populations

Rapid Automatized Naming (RAN) measures and their relationship to reading in diverse Spanish-speaking populations

First Author: Dr. Carmen L. Escribano -- Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Additional authors/chairs: 
Eduardo Onochie-Quintanilla, Universidad de Granada (Spain); Paz Suarez-Coalla, Universidad de Oviedo (Spain); Liliana Fonseca, Universidad Nacional de San Martin (Argentina); Judit Suro, Universidad de Guadalajara (Mexico)
Abstract / Summary: 

During the last fifteen years, more than forty papers on Rapid Automatized Naming (RAN) and reading in Spanish have been published. Research shows that RAN measures are both a powerful early predictor of future reading outcomes and capable of discriminating between typical and poor readers. The results from previous studies have proven to be noteworthy enough to warrant a symposium in which to debate them and to deepen the knowledge on the applicability of RAN measures to the diagnosis and prevention of reading disorders in Spanish. Two of the five symposium papers study the nature of RAN in Spanish readers, both average and with dyslexia, under the hypothesis that RAN tasks are more visual than auditory. The other three papers relate RAN measures to cognitive and linguistic variables, and to reading outcomes in children with different cultural and socio economic status (SES) backgrounds from Argentina, Bolivia and Mexico.

Symposium Papers: 

RAN as a measure of Visual-to-Verbal conversion speed

First Author/Chair:Eduardo Onochie-Quintanilla -- Universidad de Granada
Additional authors/chairs: 
Ian C. Simpson, Universidad de Loyola Andalucía, icsimpson@uloyola.es; Sylvia Defior, Universidad de Granada, sdefior@ugr.es

Purpose: One of the most debated accounts for Rapid Automatized Naming’s (RAN) relation to reading argues that RAN measures orthographic processing ability, defined here as the ability to process groups of letters or entire words as single units. Given that reading familiar spelling patterns will rely on orthographic processing more than reading unfamiliar spelling patterns, this study examined RAN’s relationship to lexical and sublexical orthographic familiarity by manipulating word-frequency and syllable-frequency. If RAN measures orthographic processing we expect to observe a stronger contribution from RAN to words and non-words with higher word- and syllable-frequencies, respectively.
Method: 135 Spanish children were administered RAN, phonological and visual skills tests in Grade 5. Two lists of words (high- and low- word frequency) and two lists of non-words (high- and low- syllable frequency) were administered to assess their reading speed in Grade 5 and again in Grade 6.
Results: RAN made a comparable contribution to Grade 6 reading speed of both types of words and non-words. However, once the auto-regressive effect was controlled, RAN only made a significant contribution to reading speed of low syllable-frequency non-words, suggesting it is more related to unfamiliar, rather than familiar orthographic structures.
Conclusions: The current findings do not support the RAN-orthographic processing account. Instead, rapid unfamiliar-word decoding, familiar-word recognition and performance on the RAN test all require rapid visual-to-verbal conversion (VVC). Therefore, given that unfamiliar-word decoding requires higher VVC demand compared to familiar-word recognition, RAN contributing to unfamiliar-word reading beyond the auto-regressor suggests that RAN measures VVC speed.

Nature of RAN in people with dyslexia

First Author/Chair:Paz Suárez-Coalla -- Universidad de Oviedo
Additional authors/chairs: 
Fernando Cuetos, Universidad de Oviedo, fcuetos@uniovi.es

Purpose: A considerable number of developmental dyslexics show difficulties to perform rapid automatic naming tasks (RAN). The cause of this problem is not clear yet, receiving different interpretations. First, it has been considered the result of the phonological deficit, but according to the double-deficit hypothesis, it could be an independent impairment. As auditory processing deficit is considered the primary cause of phonological problems, we tried to shed some light about the nature of RAN in dyslexic people.
Method: Twenty children with dyslexia (8-12 years-old) and 20 controls matched by age, gender, socio-economic status and education level participated in this study. Participants completed several phonological awareness tasks (Syllable Segmentation, Syllable omission, Word spelling, Nonword repetition), Rapid Automatic Naming, and auditory tasks (Rise time of amplitude envelope onset, Syllable Stress Perception, Prosodic perception, BaWa task, Speech rhyme).
Results: The results showed significant differences between groups in every task, where dyslexic children presented lower performance than control group. As expected we found significant correlations among phonological awareness and auditory processing tasks, but correlations between RAN and auditory tasks do not seem to be as strong.
Conclusion: The results have been interpreted in terms of the nature of RAN deficit.

Socio-economic status has an impact on RAN/RAS measures in Spanish speaking children in Argentina

First Author/Chair:Liliana Fonseca -- Universidad Nacional de San Martín (Argentina)
Additional authors/chairs: 
Eleonora Lasala, Universidad Nacional de San Martín, eleonora.lanus@gmail.com ; Monica Graciela Migliardo, Universidad Nacional de San Martín, grameretta@gmail.com ; Ivana Corrado, Universidad Nacional de San Martín, ivanacdb@gmail.com; Ines lagomarsino, Universidad Nacional de San Martín, inesmlagomarsino@gmail.com ; Laura Garcia Blanco, Universidad Nacional de San Martín, lauraigarciablanco@gmail.com ; Maria Pujals, Universidad Nacional de San Martín, pujalsm@yahoo.com.ar ; Alejandra Mendivelzua, Universidad Nacional de San Martín, amendiv@gmail.com; Manuela Sanchez, Universidad Nacional de San Martín, manuelasanchez12@gmail.com ; Milagros Alegre, Universidad Nacional de San Martín, milaalegrehernando@gmail.com ; Celia Malbran, Universidad Nacional de San Martín, ceciliamalbran@gmail.com; Marina Simian, Universidad Nacional de San Martín, marina.simian@galuzzi.

Purpose: RAN/ RAS (Rapid Automatized Naming and Rapid Alternating Stimulus) measures the ability to name as quickly as possible, visually presented familiar symbols such as objects, colors, letters and digits indicating how fast the brain can integrate visual and language processes (Wolf and Denkla 2005). The purpose of this study was to investigate whether socio-economic status (SES) had an impact on naming speed in Spanish speaking children in Argentina.
Method: three hundred and twenty six children between the ages of 5 and 8 from middle and low SES were individually assessed for RAN/RAS, phonological awareness, letter naming, word and pseudoword reading efficiency and fluency (LEE Lectura y Escritura en Español, Defior, 2006) at their schools. Additionally, seventy children from middle SES that presented learning disabilities were tested in private practice.
Results: Within the middle SES children, the measures for RAN/RAS were significantly slower for the children presenting learning disabilities, as expected. Surprisingly, there was a statistically significant reduction in naming speed in the low SES population, even at the age of 8.
Conclusion: Given that both the efficiency of the phonological loop and executive functions influence RAN/RAS, our results suggest, as shown by others, that poverty has a direct impact on the cognitive development of children. RAN/RAS could be a useful tool as part of a development screening.

A Normative Study of Rapid Automatized Naming in Different Mexican Populations Aged 5-7

First Author/Chair:Judit Suro -- Universidad de Guadalajara (Mexico)
Additional authors/chairs: 
Fernando Leal, Universidad de Guadalajara (Mexico), fmlcvfug@yahoo.com; Cesar Rodriguez, Instituto Marista de Investigación y Desarrollo (Mexico), cesar.rodriguez@imid.maristas.org.mx) ; Alejandra Cordero, Universidad de Guadalajara (Mexico), alejadrahcordero@hotmail.com

Purpose: On the basis of a normative study for the kind of school serving the majority of the Mexican population aged 5-7 years, this study compares those norms both with those of the American population (Wolf & Denckla 2005) and with those of Mexican schools sharply different in teaching methods and resources: private schools after the American model and public schools for the Mexican Indian population.
Method: The Wolf and Denckla RAN test (objects, colors, numbers and letters) was administered to sample A, representing the majority of the 5-7 years-old population in Mexico (N = 402), yielding a set of norms for schools following a communication-centered approach in which numbers and letters are slowly and not very intensively introduced to urban children. An ongoing study is administering the same test to another two samples: sample B representing children attending schools following the American, symbol-intensive regime (N = 400), and sample C representing a minority population of rural, indigenous children (N = 180).
Results: The norms of sample A sharply differ from those in Wolf & Denckla (2005), especially for numbers and letters, in the transition from 5 to 6 years of age, although it starts converge during the transition from 6 to 7 years of age. The hypothesis guiding the ongoing comparative study is that these differences will disappear or significantly decrease for sample B and will be equal or greater for sample C.
Conclusion: Intensive teaching of symbols (numbers and letters) has a huge impact on automatization as measured by RAN. From a global comparative standpoint, this is a very important finding, hitherto hidden because research has concentrated on countries in which that kind of teaching is the rule. From the standpoint of the Mexican educational system, a case can be made to start teaching symbols earlier on, in view of the fact that RAN has been shown to be a unique predictor of possible reading disabilities.

RAN: A discriminative measure of language and reading development in the primary school years in a diverse Bolivian population.

First Author/Chair:Carmen López-Escribano -- Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Additional authors/chairs: 
Veronica Garcia-Ortega, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, vgarc03@ucm.es

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to compare the development of RAN letters, colors, and objects, in significant different socio-economic context in La Paz (Bolivia). The relation between RAN and oral comprehension, vocabulary, word/pseudoword reading, phonological awareness, and writing was examined.

Method: One hundred and twenty children (aged 6 to 8) from three different schools took part in the study. Amongst these, 30 came from a rural indigenous context, 30 from a low SES metropolitan area, 30 from a middle SES metropolitan area attending school in the morning, and 30 from a middle SES metropolitan area attending school in the afternoon. The students were individually assessed for RAN measures of letters, colors and objects, phonological awareness, word and pseudoword reading, oral comprehension, vocabulary, and writing.

Results: Significant differences were found in the development of RAN depending on the school, SES context and the age. It was found that RAN measures were highly related to vocabulary, pseudoword reading, and writing, and moderately related to oral comprehension, word reading, and phonological awareness.

Conclusions: RAN measures are very sensitive to detect differences in the development of language related abilities in children from diverse cultural background. Our study shows that RAN is capable of discriminating between students with average language development and students with a language developmental delay. Being very easy to test, RAN is thus of great use in diagnosis and prevention of language and reading disorders in Spanish.