The purpose of this study was twofold: (a) to contrast the prominent theoretical explanations of the rapid automatized naming (RAN)-reading relationship across languages varying in orthographic consistency (Chinese, English, and Finnish) and (b) to examine whether the same accounts can explain the RAN-spelling relationship. In total, 304 Grade 4 children (102 Chinese-speaking Taiwanese children, 117 English-speaking Canadian children, and 85 Finnish-speaking children) were assessed on measures of RAN, speed of processing, phonological processing, orthographic processing, reading fluency, and spelling. The results of path analysis indicated that RAN had a strong direct effect on reading fluency that was of the same size across languages and that only in English was a small proportion of its predictive variance mediated by orthographic processing. In contrast, RAN did not exert a significant direct effect on spelling, and a substantial proportion of its predictive variance was mediated by phonological processing (in Chinese and Finnish) and orthographic processing (in English). Given that RAN predicted reading fluency equally well across languages and that phonological/orthographic processing had very little to do with this relationship, we argue that the reason why RAN is related to reading fluency should be sought in domain-general factors such as serial processing and articulation.
- orthographic consistency
- rapid automatized naming