There are 5 parameters to language and these skills continue to develop beginning at birth and continuing until death. Initially the focus of these language skills is through oral language but once a child begins formal education there is a shift to written language. Below are the 5 parameters of language.
- Phonology – rules that govern the distribution and sequencing of sounds
- Semantics – governs the meaning of words and word combinations
- Morphology – conveys subtle meaning and serves specific grammatic and pragmatic functions
- Syntax – rule system that governs how words are combined into larger units of meaning
- Pragmatics – use of language in context
Now, Orton-Gillinham based approaches are proven to be more effective means of instruction for children with Dyslexia. These approaches are referred to as Multisensory Structured Language Education (MSLE) approaches. To be considered a MSLE approach, the program must include explicit, systematic, and incremental instruction in the following areas.
- Phonology and Phonological Awareness - Phonology is the study of speech sounds and how they work within their environment. A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound in a given language that can be recognized as being distinct from other sounds in the language. Phonological awareness is the understanding of the internal linguistic structure of words. An important aspect of phonological awareness is phonemic awareness or the ability to segment words into their component sounds.
- Sound-Symbol Association - This is the knowledge of the various sounds in the English language and their correspondence to the letters and combinations of letters which represent those sounds. Sound-symbol association must be taught (and mastered) in two directions: visual to auditory and auditory to visual. Additionally, students must master the blending of sounds and letters into words as well as the segmenting of whole words into the individual sounds.
- Syllable Instruction - A syllable is a unit of oral or written language with one vowel sound. Instruction must include the teaching of the six basic types of syllables in the English language: closed, vowel-consonant-e, open, consonant-le, r-controlled, and diphthong or vowel pair. Syllable division rules must be directly taught in relation to the word structure.
- Morphology (base words, etc) - Morphology is the study of how morphemes are combined to form words. A morpheme is the smallest unit of meaning in the language. The curriculum must include the study of base words, roots and affixes.
- Syntax - Syntax is the set of principles that dictates the sequence and function of words in a sentence in order to convey meaning. This includes grammar, sentence variation and the mechanics of language.
- Semantics - Semantics is that aspect of the language concerned with meaning. The curriculum (from the beginning) must include instruction in the comprehension of written language.