May 30, 2024
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The Fundamental Link Between Speech, Language and Literacy

Avi is in the fifth grade, and he is struggling in school. He has been tested multiple times over the years, however the results are always inconclusive. He has no definitive challenges in any one area, but he has difficulty keeping up with his peers in subjects such as English, social studies and science. His grades are decent, yet he is capable of more and is not achieving his full potential. Avi’s parents have observed that he is a slow reader and writer, does not always seem to grasp concepts that he is learning and reading, and sometimes has difficulty expressing himself. They want to help their son but are unsure of what direction to take.

Traditionally, the remediation of speech and language skills was the domain of a speech pathologist and the remediation of reading and spelling skills was the domain of a reading specialist. However, research completed over the past two decades has concluded that there is a strong interrelationship between speech, language, reading and spelling. It demonstrates the vital underlying role and connection that speech sound and language development play in learning to read and spell.

For instance, phonemic awareness, which is the ability to recognize and manipulate individual sounds in spoken words, is essential for children learning how to read words. If a child is not able to identify and express sounds orally, he will have trouble reading them in written form. Similarly, proficient language skills are a critical foundation for reading. In order to read and spell fluently and accurately, a child must have a rich vocabulary and strong language comprehension skills, including the ability to recognize word parts and sentence structure.

A professional who specializes in both speech pathology and reading remediation is best equipped to facilitate the development of numerous skills needed for learning. Using a broad knowledge base and looking at the overall picture, the speech and language pathologist/reading instructor can examine all the information to determine the most effective plan of action required so a child can achieve optimal success. This approach allows the student to develop the foundations and strategies needed for learning while acquiring skills. All of the child’s learning needs will be met, and a more confident and self-assured student will emerge.

As a pediatric speech and language pathologist and certified reading and Dyslexia teacher, who specializes in the Orton-Gillingham reading method, I offer a comprehensive, multifaceted approach, integrating all of your child’s learning needs in one setting. My underlying philosophy is that the development of a solid foundation of speech and language skills is essential for literacy achievement. Looking forward to hearing from you to discuss your child and set up an individualized plan for success.

By Devorah T. Schatz, M.A., CCC-SLP, OG-T, CDP


Devorah Schatz is an ASHA Certified Speech & Language Pathologist with over 25 years of experience working with children and young adults of all ages. She is also a Fairleigh Dickinson University/IMSLEC Certified Reading Instructor and IDA Dyslexia Practitioner, specializing in the Orton-Gillingham Reading Method. She can be reached at the Speech, Language, & Literacy Center in Teaneck, NJ. Call: 201-657-2648. Email: [email protected]. Facebook: Speech, Language, and Literacy Center @schatzsllc.

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