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Why speech, language, and reading?

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By using a model focused on the reciprocal relationship between spoken and written language, SpeakChatRead aims to promote greater progress in both areas of development. ASHA’s Position Statement entitled Roles and Responsibilities of Speech-Language Pathologists With Respect to Reading and Writing in Children and Adolescents (2001) states: 


“The connections between spoken and written language are well established in that:


(a) spoken language provides the foundation for the development of reading and writing; 

(b) spoken and written language have a reciprocal relationship, such that each builds on the other to result in general language and literacy competence, starting early and continuing through childhood into adulthood;

(c) children with spoken language problems frequently have difficulty learning to read and write, and children with reading and writing problems frequently have difficulty with spoken language; and 

(d) instruction in spoken language can result in growth in written language, and instruction in written language can result in growth in spoken language.”


As we see in Scarborough’s Reading Rope (below), the majority of the skills needed for skilled reading are language-based skills. By formulating intervention plans that integrate these skills, I aim to promote progress in both spoken and written language.

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While speech-language pathologists are more commonly known for their work in speech sound production, we also are highly-qualified in providing reading instruction. ASHA’s Position Statement also states “it is the position of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) that speech-language pathologists (SLPs) play a critical and direct role in the development of literacy for children and adolescents with communication disorders”. My literacy training grant in graduate school, many years of experience as a school-based speech-language pathologist, and additional outside training in literacy have prepared me for working with children directly and indirectly on their reading and writing skills. I consistently incorporate books and literacy principles into my sessions, even when reading isn’t the primary goal!


American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2001). Roles and responsibilities of speech-language pathologists with respect to reading and writing in children and adolescents [Position Statement]. Available from

[Scarborough's Reading Rope]. (n.d.).

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