Research and educational outcomes have established that children who have speech sound disorders (also referred to as expressive phonological disorders) and/or language impairments are at high-risk for reading problems (Sices, Taylor, Freebairn, Hansen, & Lewis, 2007).
At Lumina, we assess the current level of performance within these underlying skills for reading and literacy AND we develop a treatment plan to target these reading and literacy skills:
Phonology is the study of sound structure of spoken words and is a critical element of Structured Language instruction. Phonological awareness includes rhyming, counting words in spoken sentence, and clapping syllables in spoken words. An important aspect of phonological awareness is phonemic awareness or the ability to segment words into their component sounds, which are called phonemes. A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound in a given language that can be recognized as being distinct from other sounds in the language. For example, the word cap has three phonemes (/k/, /ă/, /p/), and the word clasp has five phonemes (/k/, /l/, /ă/, /s/, /p/).
Once students have developed the awareness of phonemes of spoken language, they must learn how to map the phonemes to symbols or printed letters. Sound- symbol association must be taught and mastered in two directions: visual to auditory (reading) and auditory to visual (spelling). Additionally,
students must master the blending of sounds and letters into words as well as the segmenting of whole words into the individual sounds. The instruction of sound-symbol associations is often referred to as phonics. Although phonics is a component of Structured Literacy, it is embedded within a rich and deep language context.
A syllable is a unit of oral or written language with one vowel sound. Instruction includes teaching of the six basic syllable types in the English language: closed, vowel-consonant-e, open, consonant-le, r- controlled, and vowel pair. Knowledge of syllable types is an important organizing idea. By knowing the syllable type, the reader can better determine the sound of the vowel in the syllable. Syllable division rules heighten the reader’s awareness of where a long, unfamiliar word may be divided for great accuracy in reading the word.
A morpheme is the smallest unit of meaning in the language. The Structured Literacy curriculum includes the study of base words, roots, prefixes, and suffixes. The word instructor, for example, is contains the root struct, which means to build, the prefix in, which means in or into, and the suffix or, which means one who. An instructor is one who builds knowledge in his or her students.
Syntax is the set of principles that dictate the sequence and function of words in a sentence in order to convey meaning. This includes grammar, sentence variation, and the mechanics of language.
Semantics is that aspect of language concerned with meaning. The curriculum (from the beginning) must include instruction in the comprehension of written language.