By: PossAbilities | September 08, 2017

Did you know that speech and language therapy can help children who are struggling to learn to read and write?

Speech-language pathologists assess and treat a variety of communication disorders: stuttering, receptive and expressive language disorders, speech sound disorders, social pragmatic language deficits, and more.


As a result, this background makes them experts in oral language development, which serves as the foundation for learning to read, spell, and write.


Speech-language pathologists can support literacy in the following ways:

  •  Foster language development and early literacy skills
  • Identify students at risk for reading and writing difficulties
  • Assess reading skills
  • Assess writing skills
  • Advocate for effective literacy practices
  • Provide intervention for reading and writing disorders
  • Educate parents and professionals regarding the role of oral language in literacy development

How can speech and language therapy help with reading and writing?

Given the critical role that oral language development plays in learning to read and write, speech-language pathologists can play an integral part in the evaluation and treatment of reading and writing disorders. 

Children with spoken language problems often have difficulty learning to read and write. This stems from the complexity of literacy skills, as well as the strong correlation between spoken and written language.

At its most basic level, literacy is an individual’s ability to read and write. However, literacy encompasses much more than that. This multi-faceted skill begins to develop during infancy. 

Infants, toddlers, and preschoolers develop literacy skills by building vocabulary and language, learning about sounds in words, building knowledge of print, forming knowledge of letters and words, and strengthening comprehension. Parents play an integral role in promoting literacy development during infancy and the preschool years.  

Development of reading and writing skills continue as a child grows. To become an efficient reader, individuals must develop phonological awareness, decoding, fluency, and comprehension skills. 

Spelling, also known as encoding, requires development of word structure, phonemic awareness, and orthographic knowledge. 

Learning to write occurs at the word, sentence, and discourse levels. 

Additionally, written language development requires an understanding and use of the writing process (i.e., the ability to organize, draft, and edit written text), grammatical elements, word choice, writing conventions (e.g., capitalization and punctuation), and organizational structure. 

Ultimately, the acquisition of literacy skills enables individuals to think critically, communicate effectively, adapt to change, problem solve, develop their knowledge and potential, and participate fully in society. 

Thus, reading and writing skills enable an individual to function in school, work, and society. 

For more information regarding how speech and language therapy services can help your child develop literacy skills, contact us

Additionally, insurance frequently covers speech and language therapy, so you can often get your child the help they need at no extra cost. (See which insurance providers we accept in our "Starting Services" section.)


Erin Lowry, M.A. CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist


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