A couple of weeks ago, we talked about ways you can work with your child at home to prepare them to learn to read. Developing pre-literacy skills with your child can go a long way towards improving reading skills down the road, but many children still need a little extra help when the time comes. For children that have trouble learning to read, a speech-language pathologist can be a valuable member of the team. A recent survey found that over 70% of teachers believed that students who received speech therapy services demonstrated improved reading skills in the classroom (ASHA, National Outcome Measurement System). In many cases, speech-language pathologists can identify the root of a reading or writing issue through the child’s difficulty with language, and help the child remediate or compensate for the difficulties.
- In order to learn to read, a child needs phonological awareness, or the ability to hear and identify the sounds that make up words. Speech-language pathologists work with children with phonological awareness difficulties and help boost the ability to identify, recall, and retrieve these sounds and link them to written language.
- A speech therapist can help a child use different sensory cues in reading and writing, such as auditory or tactile (touch) cues. This can be especially useful for children who are having trouble learning to read in a typical classroom setting.
- Difficulty learning to read is often preceded by early language difficulties. For children who are at-risk for literacy problems, a speech-language pathologist will build and reinforce relationships between early spoken language and early pre-literacy skills.
- Speech pathologists often work with a classroom teacher to analyze the reading demands of textbooks and other academic materials at different grade levels, and help to develop strategies for coping with these demands to prevent the child from falling behind.
If your child is struggling with reading, summer can be a great opportunity for them to get the extra help they need! If you have any questions or would like to know more about speech-language therapy, give me a call at (212) 308-7725 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be happy to chat and answer any questions you may have.