Classroom teachers at Center School are primarily engaged in providing curriculum based instruction tailored to individual students’ learning needs, whereas the role of the Speech Language Pathologist is to provide intervention that addresses underlying developmental lags and deficits. There is ongoing coordination between the classroom teacher and the Speech Language Pathologist.
Based on extensive research, the National Reading Panel (NRP) has designated five essential aspects of a research based reading program. Speech Language Pathologists at Center School provide direct instruction in each aspect and in linguistic processing as well.
- Phonological awareness
- Alphabetic principle
Phonological Awareness: direct instruction in focusing on and manipulating phonemes in spoken syllables and words. Components of phonemic awareness explicitly and systematically taught in the Speech and Language program include the following: rhyme, onset and rhyme, syllable/phoneme addition and deletion, segmenting at the syllable and phoneme levels, identification of phonemes in isolation and in varying positions in words, and sound blending.
Alphabetic Principle :(phonics) the ability to associate sounds with letters and use these sounds to form words; this instruction is often referred to as phonics. According to many research studies, combined instruction in phonological awareness and alphabetic principles reaps long term benefits and is the most favorable approach for successful reading development. The following principles, techniques and materials are employed to develop phonic skills:
Orton Gillingham principles are the foundation of instruction in phonics at Center School. The Speech/Language Program incorporates an integrated, multisensory, sequential approach that explicitly teaches word analysis strategies. Sound letter association is taught using objects and later pictures to support recall. As students develop sound/letter associations they use these relationships as a strategy for pronouncing unknown or difficult words or for spelling words. Direct instruction progresses to more advanced analysis incorporating principles of syllable segmentation and morphology (prefixes, suffixes, etc.).
Wilson Reading System is utilized as one instructional approach, and Speech Language Pathologists are trained in this instructional technique. This is a structured series emphasizing a phonetic approach to decoding and spelling.
Vocabulary: the ability to understand and use words to acquire and convey meaning. The importance of vocabulary knowledge to school success and reading comprehension is widely documented. Speech Language Pathologists obtain vocabulary from meaningful context such as reading material or conversation and target development of functional vocabulary skills.
Fluency: the effortless, automatic ability to read words in connected text. Reading fluency incorporates speed or rate of reading, degree of accuracy, and ability to read materials with proper expression. Proficient readers must be automatic with each component skill (phonological awareness, decoding, and vocabulary) so that they can apply their attention to the comprehension and meaning of the text. Read Naturally is one of the programs employed.
Comprehension: the complex cognitive process involving intentional interaction between reader and the text to convey meaning. Speech/Language Pathologists provide direct instruction in specific strategies supporting comprehension. Some of these strategies are: accessing prior knowledge, predicting, summarizing, hypothesizing, answering and generating questions, comprehension monitoring, coordinating and shifting strategies as needed and developing awareness of text-based factors such as structure of narrative/expository text.