• Beth Chaput

Speech Language Pathology and Literacy

What is a speech-language pathologist's role in literacy, you ask? Well language of course! Reading, writing, spelling, comprehending text - are all about language. Thankfully, reading for my children came fairly easily, so the struggle and effort that goes into learning to read wasn't very obvious to me before. Now following my training in the Orton-Gillingham approach, the steps involved are clearer, but no less daunting for those struggling to read - morphology, phonology, semantics, syntax, listening and reading comprehension, writing, vocabulary - all play a role in learning to read.

Oral language difficulties often go hand in hand with reading and writing problems. A child who lacks morphological awareness or has articulation issues may have trouble learning to spell. Children who have trouble with oral narratives will most likely have trouble formulating written stories. As children get older and read more complex stories, they often include higher level language skills, such as idioms, metaphors, similes, or inferences which can be very challenging for children with language difficulties.

Orton-Gillingham lessons, which are structured and individualized to each child, include both written and oral portions in a defined format. They include going from the reading and sounding out of each phonogram sound (a phonogram is a letter or combination of letters that make up a sound, like soft "g", which could be spelled "g" or "dge", etc.), blending phonograms, introducing new concepts (phonograms, syllable structure, spelling rules, etc), phonemic awareness (manipulating phonemes), to listening to and writing symbols (letters) for each sound, listening to and writing words, and listening to and writing sentences. Each lesson includes shared oral reading and comprehension questions. As you can see, much of this involves speech and language - articulating sounds accurately, comprehension, sentence structure, etc. Although its certainly possible to be an Orton-Gillingham tutor without being a speech-language pathologist, my extensive training in language acquisition and development gives me a unique and deeper perspective on literacy. With the advent of more specific legislation to identify and support people with dyslexia (see here for more state-by-state progress https://dyslexiaida.org/dyslexia-laws-in-the-usa-an-update/), the interventions offered are more in demand than ever.

Here is a link to American Speech-Language-Hearing Association's (ASHA) position statement on speech language pathologists (SLP's) roles and responsibilities for literacy https://www.asha.org/policy/PS2001-00104/

#literacy #ortongillingham #slp #reading

© 2018 by Beth Chaput, M.S., CCC-SLP, CDP.  

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