Literacy

Does Your Child Have Difficulties with Reading and Writing?

Literacy refers to your child’s ability to read and write and use written information in a variety of contexts. It is not surprising that literacy skills are strongly tied to a child’s communication skills. After all, reading and writing enable our children to access greater communication channels. If your child has difficulty with reading and writing (or pre-literacy skills), it is likely they will struggle at school, and as they get older, their choices and participation in daily life will be limited.

With specific training in sound awareness and language skills, our Speech Pathologists are well positioned to support your child with the development of their literacy skills. We understand that many children will exhibit challenges with reading and writing if they have speech or language difficulties and can help your child develop good oral language skills and auditory skills that are essential for literacy development.

Our individualised therapy programs include ongoing parent support and education, and are specifically designed to:

  • Tap into your child’s interests, skills, and challenges to develop appropriate goals associated with literacy development.
  • Help your child build confidence with letter and sound recognition, sound blending / word decoding, word recognition (i.e. ‘sight’ words), word and sentence meaning.
  • Utilise games and play to help your child build their vocabulary, access a variety of texts, and practice writing.
  • Support parents and provide at-home activities to help build literacy skills during shared story time and other daily activities.
  • Work with teachers and educators to support your child’s literacy skills within the school setting.
  • Celebrate your child’s success and encourage a love of reading and writing.

Literacy is the ability to read and write and use written information in a variety of ways and contexts. It encompasses the following components:

  • Phonological awareness (the knowledge and awareness of what sounds are and how they make words)
  • Reading (the ability to decode written symbols and signs, and understand the meaning of words and sentences)
  • Writing / Written Communication (physical handwriting skills, typing and correct use of grammar, punctuation, spacing)
  • Spelling (the ability to arrange letters in the correct order and make words)

If a child has difficulty with reading, writing and spelling they may be considered to have a ‘Specific Learning Disorder’. This is a classification that groups together reading-related (dyslexia) and math-related (dyscalculia) disorders.

Literacy skills provide the foundation for participating and progressing in different environments.

Early ‘pre-literacy’ skills such as rhyming and blending sounds are essential building blocks to develop more complex skills.

Reading exposes children to new vocabulary, promoting language development. At school, reading, spelling, and writing are important for understanding and completing tasks in all subject areas.

In our daily lives within the home and community contexts, we require effective literacy skills to access different information including newspapers, books, internet articles and signs. If your child struggles with reading and writing skills, they may find themselves excluded from social situations, may fall behind at school, and become withdrawn and avoid certain tasks and situations.

Speech Pathologists play a very important role in working with families to support literacy skills.

Supporting the development of literacy skills will often start with a thorough evaluation of your child’s abilities including how well they can read, write, spell and communicate.

Coupled with a good understanding of your child’s interests, we then develop an individualised program that targets your child’s area of need. This program can include the provisions of direct intervention (ongoing therapy), modifying literacy and school-based activities, helping your child ‘access’ books and texts that align with their interests, and liaising with your child’s teachers to provide further education and support.

What to Look Out for with Literacy Difficulties:

  • Does your child avoid reading and writing tasks?
  • Does your child guess words when reading or memorises the text?
  • Does your child write short sentences?
  • Does your child dislike school?
  • Does your child experience anxiety and exhibit challenging behaviours with reading and writing tasks or certain situations like school?

Remember, every child develops at their own pace, but if you are concerned, talk to us today. Our friendly team of experienced speech pathologists are here to guide you through your concern and help you take the best next step.