Provide speech and language therapy to students
Apply remedial writing programs for elementary and middle school age students
Phonological awareness (PA) consists of skills that typically develop gradually and sequentially through the late preschool period. They are developed with direct training and exposure. For several years now, we have been working with teachers and teaching assistants to work with small groups of students in the classroom to increase and improve PA skills. In one school, PA activities are practiced at one of the reading centers or stations during the reading block. Weekly activities are planned to help students acquire and practice skills such as rhyming, identifying beginning, middle and end sounds in words and manipulating sounds in words. In small groups it is easy to spot those students who are “just not getting it” and finding time for extra practice and reinforcement.
When caught early on, PA training can make a significant difference in a child’s ability to learn to read. As one teacher so aptly put it, “without the extra help from the SLP, Leah would have continued to struggle. It was clear that she had difficulty hearing sounds in words and she couldn’t even begin to blend sounds." Using a multi-sensory approach and coaching from the SLP, Leah’s teacher spent 15 minutes three times a week working on improving her skills. "Within a few months we saw a tremendous difference! Leah actually began sounding out three letter words and could differentiate between the vowels. A few years ago, we wouldn’t have known what to do…perhaps we might’ve waited until she “grew out of it”. Now, we are so glad that we have the tools to help the students…before a problem is created.”