This information comes from the Irish Association of Speech Language Therapists DLD Position Paper published in 2017
This year I have been completing several courses regarding specialized literacy intervention. I have mostly been focusing on how a child's knowledge of speech sounds (phonology) and how a child's understanding of word parts (morphology) impacts their reading.
Did you know that our brains are not really wired to learn to read? We come pre-programmed to eat, breath, walk, and even talk BUT there is no "reading center" in our brains.
Luckily, we as human beings are uniquely designed to communicate. We are born seeking patterns in sounds, movements, and facial expressions. We are experts in assigning meaning to those patterns. READING builds on this innate ability to SEEK PATTERNS and COMMUNICATE!
If we can't learn to read just by developing and growing...then how does it happen?
1. We build our spoken language. We learn as many words as we can. We watch for patterns when speaking. Kids listen and learn from hearing stories, exploring their environment, and talking with you!
2. We learn how letters sound individually and when they are in words. We seek out the patterns associated with these sounds. Kids love nursery rhymes and sound games for a reason! I love to "A"te "A"te "A"te "A"pples and Ban"A"n"A"s!
3. We learn what letters look like, what words look like, how to tell if a sentence is a statement or a question, we become familiar with what our language looks like when it's written down.
I have been lucky enough to be learning Structured Literacy instruction through SMARTER Intervention. "Structured Literacy is the umbrella term used by the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) to unify and encompass evidence-based programs and approaches that are aligned to the Knowledge and Practice Standards and are effective for students identified with SLD/Dyslexia. This approach is beneficial for all children learning to read but is essential for students with SLD/Dyslexia."
SMARTER Intervention was created because there was a need for a more approachable, realistic, research based structured literacy program. I have been very impressed with the quality of their training modules and materials. As I begin utilizing their products I will write a more complete review about my experience with structures literacy instruction!
Check out this fantastic graphic created to help us understand the most recent data about when kids learn specific speech sounds!
Take it from me, these ages are a lot younger than most SLPs (myself included) are used to. I LOVE that research is showing kids are ready to tackle sounds earlier than we thought. If your kid is struggling with a sound and you are concerned, talk with your local SLP (you can get info from your pediatrician or school district).
It may take the SLP world a while to catch up to this most recent study compiling data regarding speech acquisition. BUT at least now we have a starting point.
start around 40 s. I always felt bad for Dopey, think of all of the fabulous things he might say if someone got him some kind of AAC device and taught him how to use it. This is why SLPs are amazing!
I was reading "Oh Say Can You Say" by Dr. Seuss to my 6 year old tonight and came across the poem above. I thought, "Hey, that is a perfect example of how using visual cues can help with sound placement!". So here I am blogging about Dr. Seuss's great idea.
One of the very best ways to get kids saying new sound or new sound combinations is to have them watch you as you say those sounds. Pulling out a mirror so they can see their own oral motor movements is also an excellent idea, especially for these kinds of sounds: b, m, p, th, f, v, l, and s. This kind of activity works best when your child already knows how to make their new sound and needs a reminder to use it in their target words.
Here is an example: child can say the "s" sound but he often replaces it with a "th" if he is not paying attention.
Get in the bathroom in front of a mirror big enough to see you both.
Mom: Sssam, see how my tongue stayed behind my teeth! Now watch it will slip out this time: "tham", oops, how do I fix it?
Child: Pull it back behind your teeth!
Mom: Okay, Sam. How was that? Awesome! Your turn:
Mom: I noticed that your tongue was behind your teeth!
If your child is having a hard time getting the right sound out at all, this activity might not be as successful. That is when a knowledgeable expert (aka Speech-Language Pathologist) is super useful!
It's summertime and your child may be taking a break from his direct speech therapy services (particularly if he is receiving services through his school SLP). What can you do to help him maintain his awesome skills over the break? How can you help him keep progressing without the homework sheets he brought home all school year?
Never fear! There are some amazing websites and apps that are perfect for filling the summer break therapy gap.
Mommy Speech Therapy: http://mommyspeechtherapy.com/?page_id=55
This site has SO many free worksheets! My advice, print off a few for sounds your child can make but isn't using in his daily conversation yet and practice them for about 5 minutes a day. You might need an SLP to teach sounds your child can't say at all yet BUT these worksheets are perfect for practicing sounds your child knows and just isn't using all of the time. Don't stress on words he is missing, practice, practice, practice the words he can do. For now, just mark the especially difficult words and let his SLP know when school starts back up again.
Word Vault: Get home-speech-home.com's World Vault app, it's FREE on the apple market!! This is my #1 go to to practice sounds with kids who can read (the free app has no pictures, just word lists). Play around with it, you can change where the sound is at in the words (beginning, middle, and end) you can also change how difficult the words are and put them into sentences or paragraphs.
All of these activities may not work for your child, but this summer try them out. If you are looking for activities tailored more specifically to your child's needs and interests...talk with your SLP, we are the experts when it comes to designing speech and language programs!
ASHA just published the results from a parent poll relating to the time kids and parents spend using devices vs. interacting or reading. The article suggested that we as parents need to be aware of our children's device use and make mindful choices about how, when, and how much access kids have to devices.
CLICK HERE to check out the article that my numbers are from.
This week I have had two of my friends tell me they had no idea speech and language therapists treat literacy skills (like reading comprehension and decoding). One was a mother of a child with multiple delays and one was an elementary school teacher. If anyone would know about SLPs and how specialized we are to treat literacy...these two fabulous women would have known!
So...I am going to assume the world at large does not understand why SLPs are such an effective service provider to help children develop literacy skills.
#1 We are SPEECH Language Pathologists:
Who understands the sounds of our language better than an SLP? We are perfectly trained to help children learn about phonological awareness and how the letters in a word sound and why those letters are important. We can teach children how letters are represented phonetically and orthographically. We help teach onsets, rhyming pairs, letter families. We are the experts when it comes to decoding written language as well as teaching producing spoken sound!!!
#2 We are Speech LANGUAGE Pathologists:
Who understands the complex nuances of spoken and written language better than an SLP? We receive years of training in morphology (pieces of meaning that build words), semantics (word meanings), syntax (grammar), and pragmatics (the social nuances of language). WE get complex sentences, vocabulary needs, figurative language, synthesizing, comparing and contrasting, making connections, etc. THAT IS WHAT WE DO!!! Reading comprehension is hugely dependent on skills that we are uniquely trained to teach. A speech language pathologist can teach reading comprehension because we understand how to develop the language comprehension reading skills are based on.
Please don't assume because I am an SLP all I do is correct "s" and "r" errors (although I do help kids with speech sound delays and I LOVE it, it's way more involved than you think). Teaching literacy skills is one thing that I specialize in, I know how much we SLPs have to offer. It is time that all of you concerned parents and educators know it too.
Bring on Summer! More time with the kids to make healthy snacks, awesome lunches, and talk! talk! talk!
Have you ever wondered what private speech and language therapy looks like? Here is a little glimpse of how I work with preschoolers and how I engage parents in the process. There is nothing better than private speech and language therapy for parent training and carry-over into the home!