The importance of early identification of at-risk readers has received attention in recent literature. This paper reviews evidence for oral language components, shown to have predictive capacity to identify at-risk readers at an early age. Both phonological and non-phonological components of oral language difficulties are linked to poor reading outcomes in a majority of children. At-risk preschoolers may present with phonological deficits, sub-clinical or clinical language impairment. The nature and importantly the trajectory of reading difficulty will vary, depending on the area of language breakdown. Irrespective, difficulty with reading comprehension is likely to result. Importantly, the variation in the trajectory of reading difficulty means that some children may struggle during the initial phases of learning to read, whereas others may experience initial success, but encounter difficulties at a later point when reading demands increase. Clinical implications for speech-language pathology assessment practices and ongoing monitoring of oral language and reading skills are discussed.