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Reading/Writing Delay

child with therapist

At UTHSC, we believe that children have the right to read in order to improve their quality of life. Children with literacy difficulties face a more difficult educational path than their peers.  Literacy skills involve reading with automaticity, reading fluently, comprehending what one reads, recalling and remembering what one reads, spelling, narrative language, and written language skills.

A child with a literacy deficit may have no interest in books or being read to.  This child may also have difficulty:

  • discriminating sounds
  • learning and remembering names of upper-case and lower-case letters in the alphabet
  • associating letters with sounds
  • recognizing his own name or common names and words like “mom” or “dad” or “stop” in print
  • rhyming
  • breaking words into sounds and syllables
  • blending sounds and syllables into words
  • identifying words, sounds and syllables
  • manipulating and deleting sounds and syllables in words
  • understanding vocabulary of literacy such as: letter, sound, syllable, word, sentence
  • re-telling and generating stories/narratives
  • answering questions about what is read
  • writing sentences, paragraphs, and short narratives
  • spelling

Learning to read, spell, and write proficiently are complex linguistic skills. The American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) has recognized reading as a language-based skill, stating that oral language provides the foundation for literacy (ASHA, 2001).  Speech-Language Pathologists’ expertise in speech and language development allow insight into underlying deficits that can negatively affect reading abilities. Speech-Language Pathologists with a knowledge base in the components of language (include phonology, morphology, syntax, vocabulary, and pragmatics) can improve a child’s reading and thereby writing ability, as language and reading are interrelated.

The acquisition of spoken language (listening and speaking) and written language (reading, spelling, and writing) are essential for successful literacy development.  A child's literacy skills are the underlying foundation for successful learning and speech pathologists are uniquely qualified to understand both language and learning

The experiences with talking and listening prepare children to learn to read and write during the early elementary school years. Children who enter school with weaker verbal abilities are much more likely to experience difficulties learning literacy skills.

Emergent literacy instruction is most beneficial when it begins early in the preschool period because these difficulties are persistent and often affect children's further language and literacy learning throughout the school years. Promoting literacy development, however, is not confined to young children. Older children, particularly those with speech and language impairments, may require intervention aimed at establishing and strengthening skills that are essential to learning to read and write.

Last Published: Feb 19, 2018