The Development of Early Literacy Skills Among Children With Speech Difficulties A Test of the "Critical Age Hypothesis" Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 2004
The Development of Early Literacy Skills Among Children With Speech Difficulties
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Liz Nathan
    University College London, London, United Kingdom
  • Joy Stackhouse
    University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield, United Kingdom
  • Nata Goulandris
    University College London
  • Margaret J. Snowling
    University of York, Heslington, York, United Kingdom
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: MJS19@york.ac.uk
  • Contact author: Margaret Snowling, Department of Psychology, University of York, Heslington, York YO10 5DD, United Kingdom. E-mail: MJS19@york.ac.uk
Article Information
Development / Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Normal Language Processing / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 2004
The Development of Early Literacy Skills Among Children With Speech Difficulties
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2004, Vol. 47, 377-391. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2004/031)
History: Received December 19, 2002 , Accepted June 5, 2003
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2004, Vol. 47, 377-391. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2004/031)
History: Received December 19, 2002; Accepted June 5, 2003
Web of Science® Times Cited: 133

This article presents a longitudinal study of the early literacy development of 47 children with speech difficulties from ages 4 to 7 years. Of these children, 19 with specific speech difficulties were compared with 19 children with speech and language difficulties and 19 normally developing controls. The risk of literacy difficulties was greater in the group with speech and language difficulties, and these children displayed deficits in phoneme awareness at 6 years. In contrast, the literacy development of children with isolated speech problems was not significantly different from that of controls. A path analysis relating early speech, language, and literacy skills indicated that preschool language ability was a unique predictor of phoneme awareness at 5;8 (years; months), which, together with early reading skill, predicted literacy outcome at 6;9. Once the effects of phoneme awareness were controlled, neither speech perception nor speech production processes predicted variation in literacy skills. However, it is noteworthy that children with persisting speech difficulties at 6;9 were particularly vulnerable to deficits in reading-related processes.

Acknowledgment
The research reported in this article was funded by the NHS Executive London, Research & Development Programme. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS Executive or the Department of Health.
We thank the speech and language therapy teams involved in the study from the following trusts: Camden and Islington Community Health Care Services NHS Trust; the Nuffield Hearing and Speech Centre, London; Barnet Health Care NHS Trust; and Enfield Community Care NHS Trust. Thanks are extended to all the participants in the study, their families, and the schools.
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