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Identifying Intraindividual Differences in Students’ Written Language Abilities

Apel, Kenn PhD; Apel, Lynda BA

doi: 10.1097/TLD.0b013e31820a22b4
Oral and Written Language Connections within Children and across Disciplines

Students must be able to consciously use their knowledge of phonology, orthography, morphology, semantics, syntax, and pragmatics to successfully read and write. Difficulties in the conscious awareness of 1 or more of these 6 linguistic knowledge components may lead to reading and writing deficits. In this article, we present a componential model of spoken and written language that can guide literacy educators in their assessment of students’ written language skills. We then provide some general assessment strategies that measure students’ conscious awareness of these different linguistic components to read and write. To demonstrate the use of this model and the assessment strategies, we present 3 student profiles that illustrate how difficulties with written language ability can be the result of different underlying linguistic awareness deficits. On the basis of these individual deficits, we also provide initial suggestions for prescriptive intervention goals. Finally, we discuss some suggestions for ensuring that professionals from varying backgrounds share a common knowledge base and vocabulary so that meaningful clinical and educational services are provided to students who struggle in the area of written language.

Author Affiliation: School of Communication Science and Disorders, Florida State University, Tallahassee.

Kenn Apel, PhD, School of Communication Science and Disorders, Florida State University, 600 W, College Ave, Tallahassee, FL 32306 (

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins