Senior Project Advisor

Baharav, Eva

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2006


Oracy, Written communication


The concept of a connection between oral language and literacy is not new. However, prior to the 1990s, this relationship was not given the substantial credit it deserves (Butler, 1999). In attempt to describe this connection, the term “oracy” has been created. The word “oracy” encapsulates the concept of oral communication and comprehension as building the foundation for literacy. Recent research has brought the significance of this idea to the attention of those involved in literacy in the schools. As a result of changes in our understanding of how children become literate, professionals involved in literacy must adapt to broadened roles and expectations. Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) are among the professionals most impacted by this current focus on the oral language basis for later literacy skills. As research evolves and gains further support, SLPs are called to expand their roles in the schools to include the area of literacy.

With a strong background in oral language, SLPs act as a very beneficial resource for other professionals involved in literacy learning. In light of current research promoting the connection between oral language skills and emergent literacy, SLPs are challenged to take on new roles and responsibilities in this arena. As with developments in any field, these changing expectations for SLPs with regards to literacy take time to implement. Before new expectations are successfully incorporated into the school SLP’s agenda, the roles must first be understood, valued and accepted by other professionals with whom the SLP might collaborate. Teachers are an especially important factor in this equation.

Until recent years, literacy instruction has been primarily the domain of elementary school teachers. With changing roles and responsibilities regarding literacy, SLPs are becoming increasingly involved in collaborating with classroom teachers to focus on literacy issues. In order for this expanding relationship to succeed, all parties involved must be willing to modify their individual roles and work as a team for the purpose of literacy.

This paper serves several purposes; First, it attempts to explain the important connection between oral and written language. With this link in mind, this paper then describes the current roles and responsibilities of the school speech-language pathologist regarding literacy in the schools. Additionally, it will summarize findings on the current level of collaboration between teachers and SLPs in the Lake Stevens School District in Washington State, based on a survey conducted as part of the present investigation. Finally, this paper aims to promote and provide suggestions for collaboration between SLPs and teachers with regards to literacy learning, based on the information obtained.


Communication Sciences and Disorders

Subjects - Topical (LCSH)

Children--Language; Language arts--Remedial teaching; Language disorders in children; Literacy; Oral communication; English language--Spoken English--Study and teaching; Speech therapists


Student projects




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