#027: A Crash Course in Literacy for SLPs

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In this week’s episode of the SLP Now podcast, I sat down with Corey and Mikayla from Ascend SMARTER Intervention to talk about literacy. This dynamic duo works together at a Denver-based educational consulting practice dedicated to getting SLPs the support they need to feel confident in structured literacy-intervention.

Corey, the founder of Ascend, is a data-driven + analytical educational therapist and diagnostician who is deeply passionate about helping struggling readers close the gap between where they are and where they want to be.

Mikayla joined the Ascend Team in 2017. She is a passionate and eager educational therapist with a background in psychology and special education, who cares deeply about helping kids see that they are capable of learning and helping them change their lives.

I’m so thrilled they joined me to share what they’ve learned in their years of practice, and hope you enjoy the conversation as much as I did!

So grab your beverage of choice (I’ll have a chai tea!) put your feet up, and listen in.

Key Takeaways

– How Corey and Mikayla came to learn so much about literacy
– The role an SLP plays in literacy
– What sets us apart from special educators and teachers
– The literacy processing triangle and why it matters (Phonology, Orthography, Semantics)
– How to identify a student’s core deficit
– Curriculum-based measures and standardized measures
– How our role changes depending on the core deficit, especially in a school setting
– Why it’s critical to have assessment in oral language and reading comprehension
– Why we need need a structured, systematic approach to literacy
– Examples of how SLPs can implement this in practice

Links Mentioned in the Podcast

Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals (CELF)
Wechsler Individualized Achievement Test (WIAT)
The Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing (CTOPP)
The Phonological Awareness Test (PAT)
Smarter Intervention Training Program
Click here to access the freebie links!

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Thanks so much!


Hi there! I'm Marisha. I am a school-based SLP who is all about working smarter, not harder. I created the SLP Now Membership and love sharing tips and tricks to help you save time so you can focus on what matters most--your students AND yourself.

Reader Interactions


  1. Dia McGowen says

    Where are the free framework and graphic organizer resources that were mentioned in the podcast? I really enjoyed the episode!

  2. Erin Dotzel says

    This is exactly what I needed for collaboration at my K-2 Primary School! Timing could not be more perfect. I used the literacy triangle during an IEP meeting on Monday to show the parents that two of the three pieces are impaired. The response was so positive despite the news that he is struggling academically- they finally had the answers they were searching for. Thank you for sharing- I’m be looking in the curriculum from Corey and Mikayla for sure!

  3. Irina says

    I love this podcast and particularly appreciated this episode. I would be happy to write you a review, but I’m an Android user (perhaps the only one among SLPs!), so was hoping there was a forum somewhere other than itunes. In any case, I find this podcast to be one of the best SLP ones out there. I especially love that many of your guests are the the very top experts in the field whose work I’d be looking up anyway, and also the emphasis on evidence-based interventions. I frequently feel like I learn a lot and come away more confident and inspired. Looking forward to future episodes.

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