In the present study, direct evidence was sought linking cognitive automatic processing with reading in the general adult population. Reading speed on single-task performance and dual-task performance were compared. A total of 18 adults without dyslexia participated (7 men and 11 women, age M=25.3 yr., SD=2.7). Participants initially were trained in single-task mode on two types of tasks. The first was a central alphanumeric equation task (true or false), which comprised 3 subtests of increasing difficulty, ranging from an easily automated task to a varied and unpredictable mathematical operation. The second task was a peripheral pattern subitization task for which stimulus exposure time was related to performance. Finally, participants received dual-task training, which required simultaneous processing of both tasks. Slower reading speed was significantly related to rate of learning and speed of performance on predictable alphanumeric operations in dual-task conditions. There was no effect of reading speed on performance in the varied alphanumeric task. Faster readers were no better than slower readers on the pattern-subitization task. These findings suggest that faster readers automatized the predictable alphanumeric task more rapidly than slower readers and hence were better able to cope with the dual-task condition.