Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Comm Sciences and Disorders


Speech Language Pathology

Committee Chair

Linda Jarmulowicz

Committee Member

David Kimbrough Oller

Committee Member

Stephanie Huette

Committee Member

Michael MacKay


Rapid Automatic Naming (RAN) is a behavioral task that measures how quickly and accurately an individual can name a set of pictured items. This task is an important predictor for reading success in young children, regardless of the number of languages spoken. As a measure of lexical processing eficiency, RANreflects the speed and accuracy of lexical access and retrieval, which is required for comprehension and production fo spoken and written language. The aim of this dissertation was to investigate the longitudinal performance across languages on a RANObjects task for young Spanish-speaking English language learning (ELL)children, as well as the predictive value of the task measures for later word reading for ELLand monolingual children. Although the ELL children are reported to have little experience with English prior to entering kindergarten, we found that ELLchildren were acutaully faster and more accurate in English than in Spanish by the end of kindergarten. Another surprising finding was that when compared to their monolingual English-speaking peers, ELLchildren were equally as fast and accurate as the monolinguals on this RANObjects task in English. Additionally, we found that these early RANmeasures were significantly predictive of later word reading for both ELLand monolingual children. Based on our findings, we proposed that ELLchildren have a rapid shift in lexical processing efficiency from their first to their second language during the kindergarten year. This shift occurs much earlier than previously reported and may be facilitated by a combination of cognitive-linguistic and environmental factors, including lexical density, the strength of lexical connectivity, and priming effects secondary to environmental context. Overall, this expands upon prior research by emphasizing the predicitve value of the errors produced on the RANObjects task. This work also supports evidence-based practice by demonstrating that the time of testing, language of testing, and the types of measures used are important considerations when identifying children for potential reading deficits. Taken together, these findings provide theoretical and practical insight into the importance of the RANObjects task as an indicator of lexical processing for young Spanish-speaking ELL children.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.