Speech-Language Pathologists (SLP) are experts in the development of language. SLPs role and responsibilities in helping children develop literacy skills, such as reading and writing are, but not limited to a) preventing written language problems by fostering language acquisition and emergent literacy; b) identifying children at risk for reading and writing problems; c) assessing reading and writing; d) providing intervention and documenting outcomes for reading and writing; and, e) assuming other roles, such as providing assistance to general education teachers, parents, and students; advocating for effective practices; and advancing the knowledge base (ASHA, 2001)

3 – 12 months 

  • Likes to chew and pat of books
  • Can focus on large and bright pictures in a book
  • Shares books with an adult as a routine part of life

1 -2 years

  • Recognizes certain books by their covers
  • Listens to simple stories, songs, and rhymes
  • Likes to turn pages
  • Attends to a book or a toy for two minutes
  • Points to and labels pictures independently
  • Pretends to read books

2 – 3 years

  • Likes to listen to books/stories for longer periods of time
  • Holds a book correctly
  • Begins to recognize logos (e.g., McDonald’s sign)
  • Begins to show a difference in writing versus drawing

3 – 4 years

  • Begins to pay attention to specific print, such as the first letter of his name
  • Recognizes logos and other environmental print and understands that print carries a message
  • Identifies some letters and makes letter/sound matches
  • Participates in rhyming games
  • Talks about characters in a book
  • Likes to “read” stories to herself and others
  • Protests if an adult changes the story
  • Produces some letter-like forms in scribbles that resemble letters

4 -5 years

  • Understands story sequence
  • Understands the function and purpose of print
  • Knows many letter names
  • Uses more letter-like forms than scribbles


  • Recognizes letters and letter-sound matches
  • Understands that print is read left to right and top to bottom
  • Retells simple stories
  • Begins to write letters and some words heard often
  • Begins to write stories with some readable parts with assistance
  • Tries to spell words when writing
  • Understands that spoken words are made up of sounds
  • Recognizes some words by sight
  • Identifies and writes uppercase and lowercase letters
  • “Reads” a few picture books from memory
  • Prints own first and last name


First Grade

  • Identifies letters, words, and sentences
  • Has sight vocabulary of 100 words
  • Understands what is read
  • Creates rhyming words
  • Reads grade-level material fluently 
  • Expresses ideas through writing
  • Prints clearly
  • Spells frequently-used words correctly
  • Begins sentences with capital letters and attempts to use punctuation
  • Writes a variety of stories, journal entries, or notes