How Does Language relate to Literacy?
On the surface, reading seems like a simple, visual activity.
When you take a closer look however, it's actually a very complex skill composed of many different strands. Many of the component strands are related to language structure and vocabulary knowledge, analysis and awareness of sounds in words, and the ability to use language to think and reason.
A Speech Language Pathologist can evaluate and support students' development of:
- Phonological and Phonemic Awareness: understanding how words are made up of sounds and syllables. Rhyming is one of the earliest phonemic awareness skills to develop; more advanced skills include identification of beginning, ending and middle sounds, and learning how to blend, delete or manipulate sounds in words. For example:
- Say 'slip' without saying the 'sss' sound.
- What word do these sounds make: 'shhhh' + 'uh' + 'g' + 'errrrr'
- Say 'crash' but change the 'shhh' to 'mmmm'
- Phonographic/Phonics Skills: understanding how sounds of language are represented by letters and letter combinations. In English, letter-sound relationships are often very complex and inconsistent!
- Vocabulary knowledge and word-finding. Strong vocabulary skills support readers' ability to quickly recognize and interpret the words they see in print.
- Sentence structure and grammar abilities. Understanding the rules of language at a deep and automatic level helps readers to decode text fluently and accurately, and also enables them to make sense of what they read.
- Language comprehension and thinking skills. To understand what we read, we rely heavily on our background knowledge, verbal reasoning and problem-solving skills, and knowledge about literacy itself; for example how a book is organized, the difference between fiction and non-fiction, or how distinguish between questions that are asking us to restate information directly from the text vs those that encourage us to read between the lines, make predictions and inferences, or speculate about the author's bigger message.
Contact Carmen directly if you're concerned about your school-aged child's reading, or would like to discuss options for evaluating and/or supporting their literacy development.
For more information about reading and its components, check out the following links: