Preliteracy speech sound production skill and later literacy outcomes: A study using the templin archive

Megan S. Overby, Guy Trainin, Ann Bosma Smit, John E. Bernthal, Ron Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Purpose: This archival study examined the relationship between the speech sound production skill of kindergarten children and literacy outcomes in Grades 1-3 in a data set where most children's vocabulary skills were within normal limits, speech therapy was not provided until 2nd grade, and phonological awareness instruction was discouraged at the time data were collected. Method: Data were accessed from the Templin Archive (2004), and the speech sound production skill of 272 kindergartners were examined relative to literacy outcomes in 1st and 2nd grade (reading) and 3rd grade (spelling). Results: Kindergartners in the 7th percentile for speech sound production skill scored more poorly in 1st- and 2nd-grade reading and 3rd-grade spelling than did kindergartners with average speech sound production skill; kindergartners in the 98th percentile achieved superior literacy skills compared to the mean. Phonological awareness mediated the effects of speech sound production skill on reading and spelling; vocabulary did not account for any unique variance. Conclusion: Speech sound disorders appear to be an overt manifestation of a complex interaction among variables influencing literacy skills, including nonlanguage cognition, vocabulary, letter knowledge, and phonological awareness. These interrelationships hold across the range of speech sound production skill, as children with superior speech sound production skill experience superior literacy outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-115
Number of pages19
JournalLanguage, speech, and hearing services in schools
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012


  • Literacy
  • Phonological awareness
  • Speech sound production skill

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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