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Connections Between Speech Skills and Reading Skills

Image by Sarah Peters 

Did you know that the skills a child learns in speech therapy have carry-over value to the child’s reading process? (Jones, 1951).

It should not come as too much of a surprise since the past 75 years of research have taught us that speech and reading are inextricably linked. When we review the literature, we find that both speech and reading have many factors in common.

Common Factors Between Speech and Reading

  1. Both speech and reading are not basic biological functions, but adaptive functions in which a person puts their basic biological equipment to use to perform the learned activity.
  2. Both speech and reading are complex processes. They require the ability to associate meanings with symbols and are dependent on intelligence.
  3. Both speech and reading require a state of readiness on the part of the person concerned.
  4. Both speech and reading may be affected by personality or emotional maladjustments and by various environmental factors.
  5. Both speech and hearing can be deterred by physical factors, such as long illness or malnutrition.

Speech Instruction Supports Improving Reading Skills

The fundamentals of speech instruction include attentive listening, methods of observation, and techniques of self-expression- all important reading skills.

Ultimately, the research shows that an exclusively visual approach will not solve reading problems. Rather, reading involves bringing to the printed page meanings which can be built up and emotionally impressed upon a child’s memory through speech experiences (Jones, 1951).

Sarah Peters M.A., CCC-SLP


Jones, M.V. (1951). The effect of speech training on silent reading achievement. Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, 16 (3), 258-263. Retrieved from