Rapid automatized naming (RAN) is a task that measures how quickly individuals can name aloud objects, pictures, colors, or symbols (letters or digits). Variations in rapid automatized naming time in children provide a strong predictor of their later ability to read, and is independent from other predictors such as phonological awareness, verbal IQ, and existing reading skills.Importantly, rapid automatized naming of pictures and letters can predict later reading abilities for pre-literate children.
Rapid automatized naming can be used in many different ways. One of its strengths is flexibility in what types of stimuli categories it uses. Different categories consist of colors, digits, objects and letters. Two formats of RAN testing are used, discrete and serial testing.
Using a serial testing method, participants are shown a row or column of symbols and must name the symbols sequentially as fast as possible. An assumption made of serial RAN testing is that it consists of two components: articulation time (the mean time it takes to articulate the symbol), and pause time (the mean length of time between naming two adjacent symbols). When referring to pause time, this can include saccadic eye movements, disengagement from previously named symbols and focusing on upcoming symbols.
Using the discrete testing method, participants are shown symbols individually usually on a computer screen. In discrete RAN testing each individual symbols’ naming latency is measured. The naming latency consists of the mean time from presentation to articulation of symbol. It is scored using the mean naming latency of all symbols.