Project Description

Supporting Knowledge in Language and Literacy (SKILL)

Designed for young students with hearing or speech impairments, Supporting Knowledge in Language and Literacy (SKILL) is an instructional program focused on improving critical language skills that are aligned with core curricular standards. Supported by a 1.5 million dollar development grant through the Institute of Educational Sciences, SKILL has been implemented across educational settings in Cache Valley and North America.


Foundational to students’ success in language and literacy is the ability to engage in group reading activities, read individually, listen and comprehend, recall details from text, retell stories and use new vocabulary. Narration or storytelling is a particularly important type of textual language used in classroom literacy instruction during primary school education. Children with language impairments are at a distinct disadvantage during language arts instruction because the benefits of classroom instructional techniques are not optimized for their abilities.


Supporting Knowledge in Language and Literacy is an instructional program designed to improve critical language skills and target knowledge necessary to meet anchor standards for Speaking and Listening, English Language Arts and Reading Standards for Literature and Informational Texts K-5.

This intervention teaches children basic story grammar elements such as character, setting, plan and action, and then uses story modeling, story retelling and story generation to help children practice foundational literacy skills. Quality children’s literature is incorporated into the lessons and used to teach vocabulary and comprehension.


SKILL improves language skills for children who are developing typically, who are at-risk for language challenges, who have language impairments and/or who are learning English as a second language (ESL).

Research into the effectiveness of the SKILL program demonstrates significant improvement in students’ literacy success. The SKILL program, instructionally effective and inexpensive, addresses anchor standards in language and literacy comprehension. Students with hearing or speech impairments who learn within the SKILL curriculum are able to:

  • Identify main ideas and characters
  • Ask and answer factual and inferential questions about key details
  • Ask and answer questions about unknown words and words that highlight “feeling”
  • Retell and summarize stories with detail
  • Identify a narrator; story elements like character, setting and major events; and a character’s goals and perspective
  • Compare and contrast stories
  • Understand and use question words, prepositions, adjectives, adverbs, coordinated and subordinated conjunctions, determiners and elaborated noun phrases
  • Identify real-life connections between words and their uses


The SKILL manual and materials are used by speech language pathologists, special education teachers, ESL specialists and classroom educators across the United States and Canada.

SKILL can be used in a one-on-one instruction setting, in small groups or with an entire classroom.

The SKILL program can be ordered online and includes progress monitoring tools and video examples to support implementation.

SKILL - Supporting Knowledge in Language and Literacy - Utah State University
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Questions about this technology including licensing availability can be directed to:

Christian S. Iverson

Technology Transfer Services
(435) 797-9620