Reading & Writing
Children struggling with reading and writing in school typically receive intensive phonics-based instruction, sometimes for years with minimal improvement in their comprehension and reading fluency. For many children, especially those with underlying language impairments, learning to sound out words does not result in comprehension of the text.
Sounding out words is only a small piece of the reading process. True reading and comprehending happen when multiple cueing systems work together simultaneously and allow the reader to make sense of the text. In addition to the phonemic cueing system (letter sounds), efficient readers also use three more systems including semantic (vocabulary knowledge), syntactic (knowledge of language structure and "rules"), and pragmatic (world knowledge and experiences).
Many children use these cueing systems naturally, but struggling readers often need to be taught how to comprehend text in a meaningful way. I focus on both reading and writing in our sessions, as working on one also improves the other. I use a meaning-based approach, an alternative to phonics-based instruction. Children are taught meaning-based strategies with a focus on comprehending and making sense of the text, as opposed to decoding words. We use real children's books instead of leveled reading programs, which is motivating for the client, builds confidence, and exposes them to rich language use.
In our sessions, reading and writing is a shared, back and forth process between the client and SLP, which prevents the child from becoming overwhelmed and frustrated, and provides a model for them to learn from.