Secondary Students and Literacy

When children with language disorder are in primary school the successful acquisition of effective reading, spelling and writing are dependent on them having good oral language skills. Oral language is the bedrock upon which competent literacy skills are constructed.

In secondary school the balance between oral language and literacy shifts enormously. Adolescents oral language becomes increasingly reliant on reading, written language and students' ability to comprehend what they read. 

Higher Level Language Skills

Adolescent students with language learning disability are at a distinct disadvantage when learning higher level language skills if burdened with poor literacy skills. Students who cannot read well in secondary school have the double difficulty of attempting to decode unfamiliar words and remember and comprehend complex information.

Such students consequently find it difficult or impossible to develop critical oral language skills such as planning, editing, developing and establishing mature and coherent arguments in both oral and written form. These students cannot engage with the curriculum on a meaningful level and in time become disillusioned and are in danger of disengaging with school by either becoming physically absent or mentally absent in that they do not seek to learn, and become resigned to the futility of school life.

I'm sorry if this paints a confronting negative picture of school life for students with language disability but it's important to confront the reality of what students confront every day of their school lives while in secondary school. The webpages on this site will seek to offer potential solutions for you to engage students with oral language difficulties in the secondary setting.