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What is Structured Literacy?

(Such as Orton-Gillingham)

DID YOU KNOW?  - Disorders in Reading, Writing, and Spelling are LANGUAGE-BASED disorders!


Structured Literacy DEFINED

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Put simply; structured literacy is specific, explicit, systematic teaching that focuses on phonological awareness, word recognition, phonics and decoding, spelling, and syntax, all at the sound, word, sentence, and paragraph levels.  ALL children benefit from structured literacy instruction. However, children with dyslexia and other related difficulties require structured literacy interventions to improve their reading, writing and spelling skills. These best practices are further defined by the Nebraska Dyslexia Association and the International Dyslexia Association definition of Structured Literacy.  


For many years, the best known interventions for dyslexic and all readers have often been referred to as Orton-Gillingham strategies.  Recent neurological research, including fMRIs and testing in newborn screenings, indicate speech to text interventions that focus on specific areas of  phonological processing are even more suited to reach struggling readers than Orton-Gillingham alone.   Shelli has been thrilled to be a part of this implementation with her patients in recent years!



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PROPER ASSESSMENT IS CRITICAL in identifying strengths and weaknesses and knowing how to help struggling readers.  fMRI imaging and scientific research now show specific neurological areas are affected by those who struggle with literacy, and which areas must be addressed for true remediation.  


As a Licensed Speech-Language Pathologist with the State of Nebraska, Shelli will provide you with an assessment that can be readily given to your psychologist and other medical professionals for diagnosis, as well as provide a treatment plan for intervention.

AREAS ASSESSED by Shelli to help assist with proper diagnosis and treatment typically include:

Phonological Awareness – an individual’s awareness of and access to the sound structure of his/her oral language

• Phonological or Language-Based Memory – ability to recall sounds, syllables, words

Rapid Automatic Naming – speed of naming objects, colors, digits, or letters

• Vocabulary

-A Evaluation of Receptive and Expressive Language and Articulation, as needed

• Phonics Skills – understanding of the symbol (letter) to the sound(s) relationship, either

individually or in combination with other letters

• Decoding –ability to use symbol-sound associations to identify (read – pronounce)


o Real Words

o Nonsense Words

• Oral Reading Fluency – ability to read accurately, at a story-telling pace – to facilitate /support comprehension

-Understanding Spoken Paragraphs (read to them)

o Single Words

o Sentences and Paragraphs

• Spelling

Writing - and signs of  DYSGRAPHIA

o Sound Level, Word Level, Sentence Level, Paragraph Level

-DYSCALCULIA - Math disorder with a language base may also be present

-Recommendations for an Intervention Plan for needed services, if applicable, and Plan of Care will also be provided!



At least two sessions per week commitment with Shelli are required for treatment, with at least three hours a week being the minimum recommended by IDA and needed parietal lobe 'rewiring', as seen on fMRIs. These interventions are generally needed for a minimum of eighteen months to two years.

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Contact us for further information!

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