Speech Therapy | Telepractice Services | Voice and Swallowing Center | Waldo County General Hospital

Relevant Interventions for Speech

and Reading Problems

Problems with speech development can include difficulties saying sounds, using sentences, understanding language, attaining reading readiness and learning in school.

Articulation & Speech Pronunciation

Articulation is how sounds and words are pronounced. Articulation has a direct effect on reading readiness. Good speech sound development begins by 12 months of age, with most sounds mastered by age four.

Good speech sound awareness (phonological awareness) is one of the most essential skills in learning to read and often affected by a speech articulation delay.

Nathan works on phonological awareness skills with clientPhonological awareness is the first component that supports the development of reading skills. It is the ability to hear and work with the spoken language. It involves sound play, rhyming, and hearing differences in sounds.

A child has an articulation problem when people have a hard time understanding what the child says. Parents should understand 75% of the words a child says at age three and 100% by age four. Most children should be easily understood from an early age.

Children develop speech sounds in a sequence by a certain age and are already saying many sounds correctly by ages two and three.

Sometimes even mild forms of speech disorders in young children can have a serious impact on later reading success. See what international dyslexia expert Dr. Sally Shaywitz has to say about speech and reading.

Children are born ready to talk! If they have delays in developing speech, it is NOT Children want to talk.because they are lazy. They may need a little extra help from their family and friends - but they want to talk with you!

Literacy & Reading Readiness

Good talkers tend to be good readers. The skills involved in talking: sounds, words, and sentences are the essential elements in learning to read.

Preschool children should: know how to find a word on a page, know the difference between pictures and words, "follow along" by pointing out the word as a story is read, name all the letters (capital and lower case) by kindergarten, invent and retell a story that makes sense using pictures, know the sound a few A mom interacts with her daughter during a bookshare letters make and know how to rhyme.

If a child is not well prepared to read when entering kindergarten, there is a 75% chance that child will never be a competent reader.

Observe how an explicit literacy based book sharing approach is used with a preschool child to assure reading readiness. The child in this video has significant delays in preschool language and literacy development. He is now in first grade, no longer needs speech therapy and reads at grade level.

Vocabulary Explosion

A crucial part of both understanding and talking is vocabulary. A child's vocabulary is the number of different words he or she knows. A childhood explosion in vocabulary and talking begins at 18 months.

Toddler enjoys interactive play in therapyIt's an amazing feat for your child. Children learn about 2000 words every year just to keep up in school!

Vocabulary is the child's "bank of knowledge" and is the foundation of good talking, listening and reading.

Spoken (Expressive) Language

Talking involves not only the speech sounds, but also how a child is able to put words together into meaningful, grammatically-correct sentences. Early book reading involves everyone.

Difficulty occurs if a child uses very short sentences, with incorrect words or gets mixed up retelling a story. Sometimes children will get frustrated because they can't explain what they want.

Language Comprehension/Understanding

When a child has difficulty understanding what is said, this is often referred to as a receptive language, auditory comprehension, or auditory processing problem. When these difficulties occur and are not related to a hearing loss, it is because of difficulty understanding how words go together to make meaningful thoughts and ideas.

A child may not be able to follow directions or may get confused understanding words like "up", "in back of", "over" or may not be able to follow a two-step direction, i.e. "put your hat away and then throw me the ball."

At the beginning of the vocabulary explosion, increasing exposure to words leads to a soaring level of word knowledge.

Apraxia of Speech

Childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) is a motor speech disorder. Children with CAS have problems saying sounds, syllables, and words. This is not because of muscle weakness or paralysis.

With CAS, the brain has difficulty planning to move the body parts (e.g., lips, jaw, tongue) needed for speech. The child knows what he or she wants to say, but his/her brain has difficulty coordinating the muscle movements necessary to say those words. www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/chidhoodApraxia accessed on the web 9/17/08

Social Language: Pragmatics

An individual may say words clearly and use long, complex sentences with correct grammar, but still have a communication problem - if he or she has not mastered the rules for social language known as pragmatics.

Example: You have invited your friend over for dinner. Your child sees your friend reach for some cookies and says, "Better not take those, or you'll get even bigger." You're embarrassed that your child could speak so rudely. However, you should consider that your child may not know how to use language appropriately in social situations and did not mean harm by the comment. http://www.asha.org/public/speech/development/Pragmatics accessed on the web on 9.17.08


Stuttering affects the fluency of speech. It begins during childhood and, in some cases, lasts throughout life. The disorder is characterized by disruptions in the production of speech sounds, also called "disfluencies." Most people produce brief disfluencies from time to time. For instance, some words are repeated and others are preceded by "um" or "uh." Disfluencies are not necessarily a problem; however, they can impede communication when a person produces too many of them. http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/stuttering.htm one accessed on the web 9.17.08

Selective Mutism

A disorder that usually occurs during childhood. It is when the child does not to speak in at least one social setting; however, the child can speak in other situations. Selective mutism typically occurs before a child is 5 years old and may not be noticed until the child starts school. http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/SelectiveMutism accessed on the web 9.15.08

For information call the Speech Therapy department at 207-338-9349 or email at [email protected]