Naming speed and reading

From prediction to instruction

John R. Kirby, George K. Georgiou, Rhonda Martinussen, Rauno Parrila, Patricia Bowers, Karin Landerl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

164 Citations (Scopus)


Current theoretical interpretations of naming speed and the research literature on its relation to reading are reviewed in this article. The authors examine naming speeds effects across languages and the shape of its relationship to reading. Also considered is the double-deficit hypothesis, by which students with both slow naming speed and low phonological awareness are hypothesized to be most at-risk for reading disability. Finally, the instructional literature regarding attempts to improve naming speed and use of naming speed as a predictor of response to intervention is reviewed. The authors conclude that naming speed is uniquely associated with a range of reading tasks across orthographies, and that early identification would be improved by the inclusion of naming speed measures. The poor response to instruction of students who have slow naming speed should be considered when designing interventions. Further work is required to specify the theoretical nature of naming speed and to determine how to help students with slow naming speed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-362
Number of pages22
JournalReading Research Quarterly
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010



  • Article
  • Assessment
  • Childhood
  • Comprehension
  • Decoding
  • Fluency
  • Phonics
  • Special needs
  • Struggling
  • Theoretical

Cite this

Kirby, J. R., Georgiou, G. K., Martinussen, R., Parrila, R., Bowers, P., & Landerl, K. (2010). Naming speed and reading: From prediction to instruction. Reading Research Quarterly, 45(3), 341-362.