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What is Literacy-Based Therapy?

Updated: Nov 14, 2023

Hi friend!

Here's an overview of literacy-based therapy, or literature-based intervention, and why it is a great framework to use in your therapy sessions!

Literacy-based therapy is a contextualized framework where intervention activities are organized around a book or story.

The goal of literacy-based therapy is to improve language skills that support students’ ability to participate in the general education classroom in both oral and print modalities.

As a school-based SLP, the goal of therapy is to help students access the classroom and support educational (e.g. social, emotional, academic, vocational) success. What better way to accomplish this than with a framework that aims to do just that?!

This approach is a great way to:

  • Promote language development in children with language impairments

  • Target a variety of language skills (e.g. semantic, syntactic, narrative, pragmatic)

  • Align your therapy with common core standards

  • Make your therapy functional and relevant to the classroom

  • Save time with planning therapy

How It Works

With literacy-based therapy, therapy is planned around a book or story. Books can be aligned to a chosen them. If you'd like to read more about book selection, read this post.

Once you have a book, you'll follow a five-part framework that builds your students language skills through a variety of discussions and activities.

Literacy-based framework

The literacy-based therapy framework has five parts:

1️⃣ Pre-reading knowledge activation - seeing what a student knows about the theme/topic and engaging in activities and discussions to activate knowledge, fill in gaps, and pre-teach concepts that will support story comprehension

2️⃣ Shared storybook reading - reading the story aloud to students in an interactive and engaging way using prompts, pointing to pictures, and props/visuals

3️⃣ Post-story comprehension discussion - asking yes/no and wh questions about the story events, story grammar, etc. to ensure student comprehension (not testing the student)

4️⃣ Targeted activities - engaging a variety of activities to target language skills (e.g. semantic, syntactic, narrative) in the context of the story/text

5️⃣ Creating a parallel story - generating a narrative using the story/text as a guide

Hope this introduction was helpful! Have a great week! 🩵


Paul, R., & Norbury, C. (2012). Language Disorders from Infancy Through Adolescence (Fourth ed.). Elsevier.

Ukrainetz, T. A. (2006). Contextualized Language Intervention: Scaffolding Prek-12 Literacy Achievement (1st ed.). Pro Ed.


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