All right, all right, I guess I’m going to have to give the answer away. See Orthographics Part 1 for the question.
The answer is . . .
. . . the alphabet!!!!
So what does this look like in a therapy (or at home) speech session? The foundation is soooo simple. As you have the child in front of you working on a sound, you simply direct their attention to a flashcard of that letter (or sound like sh, ch or th). The power here is association. As they rehearse a sound over and over with their mouth, they are also associating it with the letter. So you are giving a speech lesson and a reading lesson all in one. Why is that such a big deal?
Studies are showing that the children who wind up in speech therapy at ages 2, 3, 4, 5 are the same children who wind up having difficulty reading later on. Don’t think just because a child breezes through reading in first or second grade he’s got it down. A lot of these kids don’t start having difficulties until junior high or so because that’s when they really have to rely on mastery content in their reading. To keep up with required reading in junior high demands a much more thorough mastery than it did in the early grades. It is imperative that we give these kiddos a solid foundation of literacy skills, and there is no better time than as they are learning to speak. If they learn to make a sound based on a visual alphabetical cue, they will forever associate that sound with that letter. Think about how much easier it will be for a child to read the word “cat” if he already knows what sounds c, a and t already make.
Literacy Speaks is a complete speech therapy program including instruction, workbooks, flashcards, etc. But if you make no other alteration to your current therapy other than the addition of alphabetical cueing (don’t replace any other cueing system, just add this in), you have now provided your child a visual anchor for the sound you are teaching as well as an early intervention literacy technique. Total cost for the alteration: NONE. (Assuming you have a pen and paper to make alphabet flashcards.)
Coming soon . . . Keys to Implementing Basic Orthographic Intervention