The recent emphasis on supporting literacy has created a set of new challenges for speech-language pathologists who work with children. Given that language problems are both a cause and a consequence of reading problems, SLPs are uniquely qualified to design and implement intervention that supports development in both domains. However, it is not uncommon for SLPs to have had no specific preparation related to literacy, creating a sense of uncertainty regarding their role in the development of written language. This course will explore the relationships between language and literacy, identifying the specific knowledge and skills that speech-language pathologists bring to the development of literacy. An overview of the skills identified as critical to reading success, and examples of how these relate to language learning, will also be provided as a guide for SLPS who wish to support both oral and written language development.
Shari Robertson, Ph.D. CCC-SLP, is a Professor of Speech Language Pathology and Dean’s Associate for Graduate Studies at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Robertson spent 18 years as a school-based SLP and special education administrator prior to obtaining her Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She recently served on the ASHA Board of Directors as Vice President of Academic Affairs in Speech-Language Pathology and owns several companies, including a publishing and a consulting business. Shari has published numerous articles, book chapters, and clinical materials and presented several hundred workshops at state, national, and international venues related to language and literacy. She is known for entertaining her audiences while delivering practical, evidence-based information that can be immediately used in clinical practice.
This chapter will cover the knowledge and skills SLPs bring to literacy development. Additionally, it will summarize the research that links oral language development (listening and talking) to written language development (reading and writing).
Central to the knowledge base regarding oral language development is the understanding that language is made up of form, content, and use. Each component must be present in order for an individual to be communicatively competent. Fundamentally, written language is made up of these components as well, with a few “extra” pieces such as writing conventions, spelling, etc. This chapter will compare and contrast each component in both the oral and written modes to further clarify the role of the SLP in literacy development.
The results of a metastudy undertaken by the National Reading Panel identified five key skills/areas of instruction that consistently lead to reading success. Many of these skills have been a part of traditional intervention for children with language learning deficits and others can be incorporated into existing therapy to support development of both the oral and written modes of language. This chapter will provide an overview of the identified skill areas and how to use this as a framework for providing intervention that addresses both the oral and written modes for children with language learning deficits. Differentiation between the role of SLPs and that of classroom teachers and reading specialists will be addressed.