American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Reading and Writing (Literacy)

[en Español]

You start to learn language from the day you are born. You learn to use language to express your feelings and communicate with others. During early speech and language development, you learn skills that are important to the development of literacy.

Literacy is a person's ability to read and write. Reading and writing are important to help function in school, on the job, and in society.

In school, children with communication disorders are more likely to struggle with literacy skills. They often perform poorly in school, have problems reading, and have difficulty understanding and expressing language.

Adults may also have literacy problems. Some adults continue to struggle with reading and writing from childhood. Others have trouble reading and writing after a stroke or brain injury.

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) assess and treat children and adults with communication disorders. SLPs work with teachers and other professionals to help people become effective communicators, problem-solvers, and decision-makers.

To contact a speech-language pathologist, visit ASHA's Find a Professional.

Learn more by diving into the world of literacy- enter ASHA's Literacy Gateway.

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