Abstract Deficits in verbal working memory (vWM) have often been reported in children with Specific Language Impairments (SLIs) and might significantly contribute to their linguistic difficulties. The linguistic and narrative skills of a group of children with diagnosis of SLI were compared to those of a group of children with typical development. The linguistic assessment included a comprehensive analysis of their lexical, grammatical and narrative abilities. Overall, the participants with SLI had difficulties at all three levels of linguistic processing. The effect of vWM was marginal on lexical processing, significant on grammatical structuring, and null on narrative construction.