Is there a connection between speech-language delays and reading difficulties?

Is there a connection between speech-language delays and reading difficulties?

Children who are struggling with their speech-language skills may also experience difficulties with basic abilities in literacy such as phonemic awareness, decoding, spelling, and writing. Studies have shown that there is a correlation between oral production and the development of essential reading skills. It is easy to see the connection between the two when you consider your little one trying to spell or read a word that they are struggling to pronounce or cannot say at all.

I struggled with reading and writing all through grade school, and I constantly grappled with pronunciation and articulation of many words both basic and more complex. For many years, I pronounced ‘spaghetti’ as ‘pasghetti’ – regardless of the silent ‘g’ or double ‘t’ found in the spelling of the word, there was no way I would come close to getting the word even somewhat correct based on the way I was pronouncing it. 

Although I specialize in remedial literacy intervention for children who are having trouble with foundational reading skills, I’ve worked with a number of students who are simultaneously struggling with speech-language difficulties. In some instances, I work in conjunction with a speech-language pathologist, and others, the child is only accessing Orton-Gillingham (OG) based instruction.

OG is a structured, multi-sensory literacy approach which addresses various areas of need within reading, writing, and language acquisition. Difficulties in reading can appear in areas of phonological awareness, verbal memory, expressive vocabulary, oral comprehension skills, and rapid and automatic naming of letters, pictures, and numbers. More often than not, an OG reading specialist and a speech-language pathologist will look at and evaluate these same areas when putting together a student profile and remedial scope and sequence.

It is not uncommon to find a speech-language pathologist who is trained in the approaches and strategies of Orton-Gillingham.  There are areas of overlap within the two fields particularly with regards to word articulation, vocabulary development, and continuous and consistent repetition of language concepts. As an OG practitioner, I am always cognisant of mouth positioning, how sounds are being produced within the mouth, and a child’s awareness of sound and word articulation more generally. I will implement various strategies that target, repeat, and review specific areas found within auditory processing and verbal communication.

There are tons of simple yet effective strategies that parents can easily use with their little ones to help in areas of language production and reading. Our Early Reader Pack marries the concepts of language production, vocabulary development, and basic literacy development with creative, fun, and play-based learning strategies which children love. We have identified and packaged hundreds of activities that make both reading and language come to life.

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