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Literacy Skills
Spelling↔Reading↔Writing Connection

Since spoken language (listening and speaking) is the foundation for the development of reading, writing and spelling, the Speech & Language Pathologist plays a critical role in the development of literacy skills for children and adolescents.  Spoken and written language depend one upon the other to build literacy competence.

Reading is a process that not only requires reading words, but also requires comprehending and being able to paraphrase what is read.  The language-based components for reading include:    

  • phonemic awareness (knowledge that words are made up of a combination of sounds and the ability to blend and  
    separate the sounds of a word)

  • phonics (knowing a specific sound is represented by a specific letter or combination of letters and awareness of patterns within words)

  • fluency (reading words smoothly, accurately, with expression and intonation)

  • prosody (rate rhythm and intonation when reading aloud)

  • vocabulary (word knowledge)

  • comprehension (using strategies to intentionally think about and analyze what is read to create meaning)

Writing, as well, is a language dependent process that includes spelling, organizing discourse texts, formulating and punctuating sentences, and revising, editing, and presenting a finished product.  The art of writing makes demands upon the ability to think critically about writing from the planning process (using knowledge of the topic, audience and text types to set goals and self-monitor while writing); to the translating process (organizing the content, selecting vocabulary,  sentence structures and grammar to match the form and purpose of the writing task and the automatic use of correct punctuation and spelling); to the reviewing process (evaluating and editing); and finally, to the completed composition.

Spelling, considered central to both reading and writing, is much more than memorizing a list of spelling words in order to spell them correctly on the weekly spelling test (only to forget them two weeks later).  Successful spellers do not rely on memorization, but are able to think about, talk about and make good use of the language properties of words.  How students spell words provides valuable insight into their understanding of word knowledge and meaning and thus, of their level of language and literacy development.  The important characteristics of spelling are:

  • phonological awareness (ability to segment, sequence, identify the sounds and syllables of a word)

  • orthographic knowledge (knowledge of sound-letter relationships, acceptable letter patterns and rules for sound, syllable and word positions)

  • vocabulary knowledge (especially for homophones)

  • morphological and semantic knowledge (knowledge of suffixes, prefixes, base words, root words and how meaning is thereby changed)

  • mental graphemic representations (developing the ability to form clear and complete mental representations of previously read words) are the necessary components of spelling.

Constance’s unique expertise in the Spelling-Reading-Writing Connection is based upon her understanding of the interrelation of spoken and written language.   She possesses a depth of experience in developing individualized literacy programs for both children and adolescents.  She has particular expertise in the  linguistic/language underpinnings required for reading, writing and spelling.

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