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Dyslexia is a Language-Based Learning Disorder - Speech and Language Therapy can Help

Updated: Dec 18, 2023

Many of the students on our caseloads have dyslexia. StoryWhys book companions contain speech therapy activities that can help.

Did you know that October is Dyslexia Awareness Month?

What is dyslexia?

Dyslexia affects up to 1 in 5 students.

“Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.”

As speech-language pathologists, many of the students on our caseloads have dyslexia. This is because of the interdependence between spoken and written language, such as the role of phonological awareness in decoding and spelling, and the role of vocabulary in reading comprehension and writing.

What can we do in speech therapy to help our students with dyslexia?

Ideally, we can form a collaborative team approach where the work we do can reinforce and complement the structured, systematic, science-based, small group reading instruction our students are receiving.

We can also support the development of our students' phonological and phonemic awareness.

In addition, The StoryWhys book companion system helps to support many of the language skills that will support better reading and writing skills, including vocabulary development, and phonological and morphological awareness.

While using all StoryWhys book companions in speech therapy will help to support our students with both oral and written language difficulties including dyslexia, I want to bring your attention to three of the book companions that feature main characters who have difficulties with reading.

Aaron Slater, Illustrator Book Companion for SLPs

Aaron Slater, Illustrator, by Andrea Roberts, is about a boy who cannot wait to get to school to learn to read so he can read all the books he's curious about. When he discovers that reading is difficult, he struggles. But his teacher, Ms. Greer, helps him to find his voice through art and Aaron finds the strength to work through his difficulties.

Negative Cat Book Companion for Main Idea and Details

Negative Cat, by Sophie Blackall, is about a boy who would do anything for his family to adopt a cat. He even promises to read for 20 minutes a day, even though reading is difficult for him. When he finally gets a cat, Max, he is disappointingly grumpy. But the boy finds that Max loves to curl up in his lap while he reads.

The Art of Miss Chew Book Companion for Speech Therapy

The Art of Miss Chew, by Patricia Polacco, is about a girl who is influenced by the teachers around her, some of whom recognize her dyslexia and are supportive of it, and one who isn't. It is a touching and realistic portrait of a girl who grows to understand her academic needs.

You can use these book companions this October in your language therapy, while also supporting the broader message that reading and writing can be especially tricky for some kids. Hopefully these books can lead to some supportive discussions as well!


StoryWhys is a one-of-a-kind, literature-based system that combines high-quality storybooks with book companions that contain a set of clear and consistent visual/graphic supports, and that targets the following skill areas:

✔️Comprehension and use of Tier 2 vocabulary

✔️Critical thinking and higher-level comprehension (categories, cause & effect, compare/contrast, main idea & details, etc.)

✔️Perspective-taking/social inferencing with specific feelings/emotion vocabulary

✔️Comprehension of figurative language

✔️Morphological knowledge

✔️Complex/compound sentence building

✔️Sequencing and formulation of organized narratives

And, the best part is, the more you use StoryWhys, the better it works!


Did you enjoy this blog post? Subscribe below to get the latest blog posts, which feature lots of speech therapy ideas for busy SLPs who want to provide fun, impactful, and meaningful speech-language therapy.

Have you heard? StoryWhys now offers the Speech and Spell series of resources. I am always trying to tie articulation work and spelling together in my therapy and I've never found any good resources out there to help me do this. So I made my own! Many more speech sounds and spelling rules to come. They'll be 50% off for 48 hrs when new resources are added to the StoryWhys store. Find them here.

Did you know book companions can be among the best speech therapy materials for elementary students? Explore all of the StoryWhys book companions for speech therapy in my store. You'll find comprehensive book companions that target many different language skills or Spotlight Series book companions that focus on one type of skill, all using high-quality, beloved storybooks.

And get your FREE, 71-page book companion for speech therapy on the Special Offers page.


link to StoryWhys homepage


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