Literacy

Literacy is simply language on paper, and SLPs are language experts by profession!

Literacy specialist, Becky Pickering, introduces our new Literacy Program.

                              


“A speech therapist for literacy help?  Wait… Am I in the right place?”

YES, you are!!


Why are Speech-Language Pathologists uniquely equipped to work with literacy deficits?


Literacy is simply language on paper, and SLPs are language experts by profession!


The American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) explains that “spoken language provides the foundation for the development of reading and writing. Spoken and written language have a reciprocal relationship, such that each builds on the other to result in general language and literacy competence.”


All of the skills required for reading and writing are within the scope of what SLPs have been doing for decades:

  • Speech sounds are foundational to phonological awareness, sound-letter association, and spelling.

  • Vocabulary is foundational to breaking words down to determine their meaning and ultimately, reading comprehension and the ability to clearly convey ideas in writing.

  • Grammar is foundational to reading comprehension, reading fluency, and writing sentences.

  • Pragmatics (social use of language) is foundational to reading comprehension of humor, figurative language, foreshadowing, and it fosters predicting skills.  And it enables children to use these things in their writing!


SLPs can also identify whether a child struggles with any of these aspects of speech and language, which would compromise their ability to excel in literacy.


Did you know??  Often times, mild language disorders go undetected until a child reaches reading age.  Sorting out the root cause of the literacy problem early is critical to set up your child for success!


Can an SLP help my child even if they DON’T have speech or language issues?


YES!!  Children DO NOT have to present with speech/language disorders to benefit from literacy intervention provided by an SLP.


Regardless of whether their speech/language development is delayed or completely typical, we all use the same skills to read and write.  Capitalizing on our talking and listening skills to perform tasks with an extended level of difficulty (reading and writing) is KEY no matter what!


“Ok, I’m listening… What makes this program different from tutoring or extra help at school?”


We’re so glad you asked!

Assessment


We provide a thorough assessment of language and literacy abilities using evidence-based assessments:  TILLS and SPELL-2.  These tests provide a clear picture of strengths and weaknesses for reading, writing, and oral language to identify deficits and design a treatment curriculum for each child individually.


Treatment


Our literacy services are provided in a relaxed, stress-free, fun environment.  We increase students’ confidence by capitalizing on their strengths while improving skills.  Reading and writing difficulties are approached from a speech-to-print perspective (versus print-to-speech) using the SPELL-Links curriculum through the expert lens of a speech-language pathologist.


Parent Training


We hold a firm belief that parents are an integral part of kids’ success and should feel empowered to support them at home.  Our program equips parents to help their children, with parent training regularly embedded into the structure of sessions.


                              

Literacy Example: Pre/Post Intervention


The below video shows the difference 6 months can make!  The first recording is from this child's initial assessment, and the second was taken about 6 months after beginning literacy intervention. No help was provided either time, and there was No practice using this specific text between recordings, so that a comparison of the two reading samples could serve strictly as a measure of progress.


Notice the improvements in her fluency/words per minute, her accuracy, her intonation, and her ability to problem solve, leading to significantly increased ongoing comprehension which is evident by simply listening to the way she reads the text!  Some of the "errors" she makes the second time around actually show that she is making meaning as she reads, even correcting a grammar mistake of one of the characters and improving some of the author's word choices based on her own spoken language abilities.


Here’s a breakdown of some of the changes:

  • Total time/words per minute:  Pre: 2:04 (43.96 WMP) / Post: 1:07 (81.25 WPM)

  • Hesitations:  Pre: 16 / Post: 4

  • Non-word productions:  Pre: 5 / Post: 0

  • Self-corrections:  Pre: 1 / Post: 4

  • Appropriate grammar/vocabulary:  Pre: 10/18 sentences / Post:  17/18 sentences


And last but certainly not least--with success comes confidence, and you can hear that in her voice as well!

Pre vs Post Intervention