Deaf readers often fail to achieve age-appropriate reading levels. In hearing children, two cognitive factors correlated with reading delay are phonological awareness and decoding (PAD) and rapid automatized naming (RAN) of visual material. In this study we explored the contribution of these factors to reading and reading delay in a sample of deaf students (N = 49, mean age 13 years) whose reading age (RA) was around 7 years. Although PAD performance was poor in the deaf students compared with RA-matched hearing controls, it nevertheless correlated with their RA. Whether tested in sign or speech, RAN was much faster in the deaf group than in RA-matched hearing controls but showed no direct relationship with reading level or reading delay. We conclude that in contrast to PAD, which is a factor in both deaf and hearing reading achievement, RAN may be only indirectly related to reading in deaf students.