SLP - Literacy & Written Language

Literacy & Written Language

Reading is a series of complex processes that include decoding words by their sounds, as well as attaching meaning to those words and the various combinations they are placed in. There is a fundamental connection between spoken and written language. From a very young age, communication skills such as joint attention can aid in early print awareness and conventions/concepts of print. Development of speech sounds and phonological rules impact letter-sound correspondence and the ability to decode words. Vocabulary skills are linked to the word retrieval and rapid naming needed by fluent readers. Understanding of grammar, sentence, narrative and expository structures help children gather, process and analyze information from a variety of text types.

Written language fits within speech-language pathologists’ scope of practice, and SLPs bring unique skills for addressing literacy concerns. However, because of the high demand for speech and language services, a school or other facility may rely on other professionals to address literacy issues and ask SLPs to focus on the spoken language needs of their students. There is very little published in the literature about the role of telepractitioners in written language. However, practical experience suggests that telepractice can be used to written language in a variety of ways. Through remote consultation, clinicians can share their unique insight with a client’s reading specialist. SLPs may participate in a variety of digital programs to support reading interventions. They may also provide direct intervention for written language needs.

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

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