Emergent Literacy

Emergent literacy involves the skills and knowledge that are developmental precursors to reading and writing. Emergent literacy skills are the building blocks for academic success and include: phonological awareness, symbol recognition, vocabulary and memory. Children with speech-language disorders may have difficulties in crossing the bridge that leads to literacy. They encounter significant problems in acquiring both the skills and strategies needed for reading and writing.

Signs that place a child at risk for reading and writing difficulties may include:

  • Persistent baby talk
  • Minimal interest in nursery rhymes or books
  • Difficulty remembering names of letters and numbers
  • Inability to recognize letters in the child’s own name
  • Limited vocabulary development
  • Immature narrative skills
  • Difficulty with phonological skills
  • Speech-language delays/disorders

lipsOur treatment approach to Emergent Literacy begins with assessing the child’s emergent literacy skills to identify strengths and weaknesses in order to determine a therapy plan.

Emergent literacy remediation is most beneficial when it begins early in the preschool years. Promoting literacy development, however, is not confined to young children. Older children, particularly those with speech and language impairments, may be functioning in the emergent literacy stage. They may require intervention to establish and strengthen skills that are essential for reading and writing.

Phonologic Awareness and Flexibility are key to acquiring early reading skills. A child must recognize that speech sounds are related to written letters in phoneme-grapheme correspondence patterns. The awareness of phonological segments in speech leads to early reading achievements. These skills include rhyming, segmentation, and recognition of word families.

Phonetic Analysis requires the child to conceptualize and manipulate sounds in isolation, blends, and words.   At Suburban Speech Center we use a multimodal approach to teach these skills with emphasis on tactile learning and motor memory. Letters are practiced with skywriting and tracing. Word segmentation and blending are taught via letter tiles, blocks and tapping techniques.   Word families are also used to help children with their decoding skills.

Fundations Program is based on the principles of Orton-Gillingham methodology. It is a systematic, sequential, multi-sensory method of teaching early reading and writing skills to children who struggle in these areas. The program includes phonological awareness, vocabulary, sight word instruction, fluency, and comprehension. Instruction emphasizes active learning to fully engage children in the learning process.

Sounds In Motion, is an evidence-based intervention program designed to develop listening skills in children, which in turn helps to improve articulation, vocabulary, auditory memory, phonetic awareness, and early literacy. The Sounds In Motion approach pairs kinesthetic gross motor movements with phonemes to teach articulation, phoneme awareness and sound/symbol association. It helps children develop the ability to become actively involved in the task of listening.

Earobics is an individualized computer program aligned with the Common Core. Targeted areas of instruction include phonemic awareness, phonics, comprehension, vocabulary and fluency.

Symbol Recognition and Interpretation includes letter-symbol identification, word reference association, and reading comprehension.

Sight Word Recognition plays an important role in the early phase of reading. Dolch Basic Sight Words are used to introduce words commonly used by children in everyday reading and writing. Having the child recognize these words quickly is an important goal of this approach. Learning these words offers children a solid base for beginning reading as well as building fluency, a key component to reading.

Phonographix is a research-based method that progresses from the sound to the symbol. The program includes the following areas: segmenting (to access independent sounds within words), blending (to push sounds together into words), and phoneme manipulation (to slide sounds in and out of words that contain overlapping spellings, such as the ow in ‘brown’).

Lindamood Phoneme Sequencing Program (LiPS) develops phoneme awareness through a sensory-cognitive approach. The child learns to recognize how his/her mouth produces the sounds of language. The child learns to use kinesthetic feedback to verify sounds within words and to become self-correcting in speech.

Webber Interactive “Wh Questions” is an interactive computer-based program designed to help children answer “Wh questions”. The child answers a variety of Wh questions following a presented story as well as questions to elicit personal relevance.

Memory, Retrieval and Automaticity are essential skills for fluent reading and comprehension. This includes rapid naming skills, word association skills and the ability to retell stories. Automaticity is a term that refers to the quick and automatic recognition of words in isolation. In addition to automaticity, children need to develop prosody and expression.

Fluent Reading and Comprehension skills are critical to developing successful reading.   At Suburban Speech Center, children have multiple opportunities to develop quick and automatic word recognition. Interactive practice exercises are reinforced at home with parents. Oral stories and scripting techniques are used during the therapy session to provide the child with the opportunity to develop prosody and expression. These scripts are video recorded for positive reinforcement and carryover.

HearBuilder Auditory Memory is a computerized systematic research-based approach to targeting auditory memory skills. The HearBuilder Auditory program includes five listening areas: memory for numbers, memory for words, memory for details, auditory closure (sentence completion), and memory for Wh information.

Interactive Metronome is used to improve a child’s planning, sequencing, and memory. This program fosters increased focus for longer periods in some children and increases their ability to filter out internal and external distractions. The program pairs the rhythmic beat with repetitive motor actions.

At Suburban Speech Center, our emergent literacy treatment approach is individualized to each child’s needs. Home carryover is an integral part of the program. Each child is provided with a speech notebook that contains age appropriate treatment objectives and interactive exercises

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