Development of Literacy Skills

speech-pathology-24Speech and language skills are fundamental to classroom learning and social skills. Undiagnosed problems can manifest at any time throughout a student’s school career when the demands of the curriculum exceed the language skills of the student.

A preschooler’s listening and talking (language) skills are the foundation for the development of their reading and writing (literacy) skills. Skills for literacy develop long before the beginning of formal schooling. From 2 to 3 years of age children will identify signs and logos, scribble with crayons and enjoy listening to stories and interacting with books. Before starting school children can recognise words that rhyme, identify sounds at the beginning of words and name some letters of the alphabet.

Children who are not good at working out the sounds that make up a word and blending sounds together have a phonological impairment. Students who do not develop adequate phonological processing pathways face persistent difficulty with reading. Therapy targeting phonological skills will improve reading and develop the pathways in the brain used by proficient readers.

What are the warning signs of a child at risk of reading and writing problems?

Answering yes to one or more of the following questions may indicate that your child would benefit from speech pathology treatment:


Does your child display:

  • persistent baby talk?
  • lack of interest in shared book reading?
  • problems learning nursery rhymes?
  • difficulty understanding simple directions?
  • difficulty retelling a story or experience in the right order?
  • inability to identify or recognise letters in their own name?

Early School (K,1,2)

Does your child have difficulty:

  • learning and remembering the names and sounds of letters?
  • recognising or making rhymes?
  • blending sounds together to make a word?
  • learning and remembering sight words (words that cannot be sounded out)?
  • remembering a word from one line to the next?

OR does your child:

  • skip words in a sentence?
  • regularly guess words from the first letter?
  • not self correct?

Primary School (Years 3-6)

Does your child have:

  • consistent reading and spelling errors e.g. letter reversals (b/d) and substitutions (house/home)?
  • slow and laboured reading?
  • poor understanding of what he/she has read?
  • a dislike/avoidance of reading?

Research supports early intervention to address reading difficulties.

If you have concerns about your child’s literacy skills at any stage please contact one of the experienced speech pathologists at Assessment and Therapy Services on: (02) 9959 5799
or email us at: