Reading and Writing Disorders

Speech Therapy

Reading and writing disorders most likely have a language component. Therefore, a child with difficulties reading and writing most likely needs speech therapy.

It is IMPERATIVE that a child has strong language skills to be a strong reader and writer.

Definition of reading and writing disorders

Reading and writing disorders occur when a child has difficulty with decoding and sight words (actual reading), reading comprehension (understanding), spelling and grammar (mechanics), and composition (structure).

Reading and writing language disorders can involve any of the following 5 categories:

  • Phonology
  • Morphology
  • Syntax
  • Semantics
  • Pragmatics

This is the SAME as language disorders. 

Let’s break it down a little further!

Let's break it down a little further

Semantics and Syntax

Early language skills such as receptive and expressive vocabulary and grammar skills are the building blocks for reading comprehension.

Quick side note: reading comprehension is how one understands what he/she reads (not the actual decoding part).

A child needs to have a strong vocabulary and grammar skills to understand the content of what he/she is reading and be able to write. If a child has a good grasp on vocabulary words and how to relate them together (solid vocab learning), he/she has a strong understanding of words and how language can be used to express ideas.

If a child has a delay in receptive or expressive language skills, he/she is at risk for later reading difficulties. That is just another reason WHY speech therapy for grammar and vocabulary is so important. 

Articulation, Phonological Awareness, and Learning How To Read

Articulation or speech sound development is obviously very important for learning how to read (decoding).

By decoding, I mean learning that letters represent sounds and letters can be put together to make words. I apologize if that is the worst definition of learning how to read, but you get the point.

Moving on...

A child needs a strong representation of speech sounds, be able to make those sounds, and then be able to use those sounds to complete phonological awareness tasks. 

*Side note - Phonological awareness is the ideas that words can be broken down into smaller units such as syllables & sounds

Phonological awareness tasks such as breaking words into syllables, rhyming, and deleting syllables are important pre-literacy skills and can be a reliable indicator for later reading abilities.

Narrative Structure & Reading Comprehension

Ah, my favorite section. I love working on narrative structure because it can make such a huge impact academically and socially.

Narrative structure is the typical flow or schematic of a story. Most oral language and written stories follow a pattern. This pattern may also be called story grammar or story structure. They all mean the same thing. 

A child with strong narrative structure skills will fill out their mental schema (who, what, where, what happened, feelings and resolution) as he/she reads. He/she will expect the next section to appear as the story goes on. This will aid in recall of the story, comprehension, being able to identify main ideas vs details, being able to retell the story, etc... 

If a child has trouble with narrative structure, their reading comprehension will suffer. They will have a hard time recalling events, answering questions, and/or being able to analyze the story further. 

Therapy Techniques

For how speech-language pathologists can help with reading and writing disorders, click here. 

How To Help Your Child Today

If you are concerned about your child, please contact us for an evaluation or find a speech-language pathologist near you. 

In the meantime, learn more at:

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