Defense Date


Graduation Date

Fall 2006


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



School Psychology


School of Education

Committee Chair

Jeffrey A. Miller

Committee Member

Rose Mary Mautino

Committee Member

Tammy L. Hughes


phonological processing, processing speed, rapid naming, reading, working memory


This study examined the relationships between the most reliable predictors of reading, possible factors of these predictors, and different aspects of reading achievement. Thirty six subjects were recruited from a reading clinic and administered measures of phonological awareness and rapid naming. They were also given measures of two constructs hypothesized to underlie these predictors, the constructs of working memory and processing speed. Each participant's sight word vocabulary, reading fluency, and reading comprehension were collected to represent reading achievement. Comprehension performance was not directly related to reading predictors but instead was indirectly influenced by sight vocabulary. Contrary to the presented hypothesis, phonological awareness was not found to mediate the influence of working memory in a sample of poor readers. However, working memory skills were closely related to sight vocabulary performance and support the hypothesis that memory affects long-term word associations. Processing speed was found to directly influence rapid naming, sight vocabulary, and reading fluency. It did not appear as an indirect influence but rather as the second best predictor in this poor reader sample. Phonemic analysis, which represents one-half of the phonological awareness construct, was the best overall predictor of reading achievement though it exerts less influence in this poor reader group compared to studies of typical students. Scores on phonological awareness were found to moderate the effects of rapid naming on vocabulary and reading fluency. Specifically, rapid naming did not influence reading achievement in students with average or above phonics skills but had an increasing influence as students' phonological skills were impaired. The double deficit subgroup of readers was thus supported by results of this study. Overall, the moderation findings also add support to phonological awareness being the core deficit in reading and processing speed affecting reading more strongly in those students with poor phonics. Findings also support the hypothesis that surface dyslexia is an expression of poor processing speed. Further study with working memory and processing speed measures is recommended to increase the application of these constructs to educational planning.