Private Speech Pathologists Association of WA

What is Literacy?

Literacy skills are the written forms of language – reading, writing and spelling – and develop from a foundation of oral language skills. Literacy skills are made up of phonological (sound) awareness, print knowledge, reading (including comprehension), writing and spelling.

What are Literacy Difficulties?

Children may have difficulties ‘cracking the code’ required to learn all the skills necessary to read, write and spell successfully. Some of these skills include:

  • rhyming
  • segmenting or sounding out words into syllables and sounds
  • blending sounds into words (E.g. m – a – t = mat)
  • knowing the alphabet
  • sound-letter association (i.e. knowing what sound each letter or letter combination makes)

Children without these skills are likely to have difficulty with reading and understanding what they have read (including following written instructions and maths stories). They may also have difficulty with spelling and writing sentences, recounts, stories, and reports.
Literacy challenges may be evident from the time a child begins to learn sounds, reading, spelling and writing skills. Sometimes problems develop later in primary or high school as the literacy demands in the classroom increase. Children with a history of early speech and language issues are at increased risk of developing literacy difficulties.

What can a Speech Pathologist Offer?

Assessment will provide information about a student’s strengths and weaknesses in understanding and use of language and literacy. Intervention can be planned in collaboration with a classroom teacher or with parents to make the most of therapy time and resources.