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Apraxia of Speech is a speech disorder that makes it difficult for children to pronounce syllables and words.  When a child struggles with saying the sounds, they simultaneously struggle with reading the sounds.  If you are wondering how to help your child with childhood apraxia of speech learn to read, you have come to the right place.  On today’s post, I am going to give you all the tips and resources you will need.   

How can you Help a Child with Childhood Apraxia of Speech Read?


1.  Use a Multisensory Approach

You can help your child with CAS learn to read by utilizing multisensory instruction.  A Multisensory approach uses all the senses to relay information to the child, accessing the auditory, visual, and kinesthetic pathways in order to enhance memory and learning. 

When learning a new concept, the child will:

  • See it
  • Say it
  • Hear it
  • Touch it
  • Move with it

For example, when learning the letter combination “ank” like in the word “bank,” the child might first look at it and then have to trace the letters in the air while speaking out loud.

This combination of listening, looking, and moving around creates a lasting impression for the child as things will connect to each other and become memorable.  

2.  Use Orton-Gillingham

Your child with childhood apraxia of speech will need a different approach in learning to read.  

Orton-Gillingham is an approach that helps children with reading difficulties due to dyslexia, auditory processing, speech deficits and other learning differences.

The Orton-Gillingham approach is a structured, sequential, cumulative and repetitive phonics based approach that teaches children the basics of word formation before whole meaning.  It is a multisensory, language based method that uses the visual, auditory and kinesthetic learning modalities to explicitly and directly teach every phoneme in the English language.

Learn more about Orton-Gillingham by reading my previous posts:

What is Orton-Gillingham

Show Me an Orton-Gillingham Lesson

3.  Use Phonemic Awareness 

Children with childhood apraxia of speech will need intensive instruction in phonemic awareness  before they can begin learning to read. Phonemic awareness is when a child identifies the different sounds that make words and associates these sounds with written words. A child cannot learn to read without this skill. 

In order to learn to read, children must be aware and able to sound out each of the phonemes in the English language. A phoneme is the smallest functional unit of sound. For example, the word ‘bench’ contains 4 different phonemes. They are ‘b’ ‘e’ ‘n’ and ‘ch.’  

Research clearly shows that phonemic awareness performance is a strong predictor of long-term reading and spelling success for children with speech and language disabilities. In fact, according to the International Reading Association, phonemic awareness abilities in kindergarten (or in that age range) appear to be the best single predictor of successful reading acquisition!

Some examples of phonemic awareness are:

  1. Identify rhymes – “Tell me all of the words you know that rhyme with the word “bat.” 
  2. Listening for sounds – “Close your eyes as I read some words to you. When you hear the “f” sound, raise your hand.”
  3. Segmenting sounds – “Say the word tap. What is the first sound you hear? What is the next sound you hear? What is the last sound you hear?”
  4. Manipulating sounds in words by adding, deleting or substituting – “In the word hat, change the h to b.” (bat)


You can read learn more about phonemic awareness by reading my previous post:

What is Phonological Awareness?


Read Repetitive Books


Reading repetitive books is an excellent tool in helping your child with childhood apraxia of speech find their voice. Kids love reading books that are colorful, predictable and highly repetitive. For kids with apraxia of speech this repetition is crucial.  

Repetitive books really help these kids grasp the content of the story much easier. When children with childhood apraxia of speech have less to think about, they can have fun and relax in the story.   

Kids LOVE reading the same books over and over again and that is a really good thing for kids struggling in reading. Every time a child with apraxia of speech reads out loud, they are practicing oral speech sounds.  

For a list of my favorite repetitive books, you can read my previous post:

Best Books for Kids with Apraxia of Speech

In Summary

Helping your child with CAS learn to read should include multisensory teaching approaches so that your child sees it, says it, hears it and moves with it.  

It is also very important to use an Orton-Gillingham program that is structured, sequential, and cumulative.  

Using a lot of phonemic awareness activities like rhyming, blending, substituting and manipulating sounds will benefit your child tremendously as well as reading repetitive books over and over again.


Please don’t leave without checking out the PRIDE Reading Program.  The PRIDE Reading Program is an Orton-Gillingham curriculum that is used by teachers, tutors, and homeschooling parents worldwide with great success.

PRIDE Reading Program


Karina Richland, M.A., is the author of the PRIDE Reading Program, a multisensory Orton-Gillingham reading, writing and comprehension curriculum that is available worldwide for parents, tutors, teachers and homeschoolers of struggling readers. Karina has an extensive background in working with students of all ages and various learning modalities. She has spent many years researching learning differences and differentiated teaching practices. You can reach her by email at or visit the website at

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