This paper focuses on the extent to which the development of ESL (English as a Second Language) word recognition skills mimics similar trajectories in same-aged EL1 (English as a First Language) children, and the extent to which phonological processing skills and rapid naming can be used to predict word recognition performance in ESL children. Two cohorts of Grade 1 ESL and EL1 primary-level children were followed for two consecutive years. Results indicated that vocabulary knowledge, a measure of language proficiency, and nonverbal intelligence were not significant predictors of word recognition in either group. Yet, by considering individual differences in phonological awareness and rapid naming, it was possible to predict substantial amounts of variance on word recognition performance six months and one year later in both language groups. Commonality analyses indicated that phonological awareness and rapid naming contributed unique variance to word recognition performance. Moreover, the profiles of not at-risk children in the EL1 and ESL groups were similar on all but the oral language measure, where EL1 children had the advantage. In addition, EL1 and ESL profiles of children who had word-recognition difficulty were similar, with low performance on rapid naming and phonological awareness. Results indicate that these measures are reliable indicators of potential reading disability among ESL children.