Academic journal article The Volta Review

Effects of Phonological Awareness Training on Early Chinese Reading of Children Who Are Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Academic journal article The Volta Review

Effects of Phonological Awareness Training on Early Chinese Reading of Children Who Are Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Article excerpt

This study investigated the effects of phonological awareness training on early Chinese reading of young children who were deaf and hard of hearing in Taiwan. Nineteen young children from four intact self-contained classrooms were included. Statistical analysis was used via a pretest-posttest design with a control group. The experimental group consisted of 10 children who received instruction in phonological awareness training of the Chinese language; the control group consisted of nine children who were exposed to the conventional intervention curriculum for young children who were deaf and hard of hearing in Taiwan. The results indicate that the experimental group outperformed the control group in terms of phonological awareness and there was a significant difference between these two groups in sentence reading performance.

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Numerous research studies have revealed that reading ability is critical for a child's academic and occupational success. However, learning to read can be a difficult task for children who are deaf and hard of hearing. The average reading level for high school graduates who are deaf and hard of hearing in the United States has remained at or below the fourth grade level for decades (Cooper & Rosenstein, 1966; Traxler, 2000). Limited research studies conducted in Taiwan yielded similar results. Lin and Lee (1987) conducted a cross-age study with 312 students who were deaf and hard of hearing. The results show that the average scores for language abilities of students in Grades 7 to 9 and Grades 10 to 12 in special schools were equivalent to those of students with typical hearing (i.e., normal hearing) at the 1.2 grade level and 2.2 grade level, respectively. Additionally, the average language abilities of students in Grades 7 to 9 who were deaf and hard of hearing in special classes at regular schools were equivalent to those of the 3.9 grade level students with typical hearing. In another study conducted with 375 students who were deaf and hard of hearing from Grades 1 to 9, the results indicate that the language abilities of students who were deaf and hard of hearing in Grades 7 to 9 were equivalent to those of students with typical hearing in Grades 2 to 3 (Lin & Huang, 1997).

Presently, more than 90% of elementary students who are deaf and hard of hearing in Taiwan are educated in the regular school (Special Education Transmit Net, 2011), meaning that most of the students who are deaf and hard of hearing are expected to achieve the same academic performance as their peers with typical hearing. In order to prevent the ''Matthew effects in reading'' (Stanovich, 1986), early intervention for reading development is critical for this group of children. However, in Taiwan, there is still a lack of scientifically based instructions that can guide teaching strategies for the teachers of young children who are deaf and hard of hearing.

Over the previous few decades, the relationship between phonological awareness and early reading of alphabetic languages has been established in various research on children with typical hearing, including preschoolers (Sprugevica & Høien, 2003), from both experimental studies (Bradley & Bryant, 1983) and longitudinal studies (Juel, 1988). Accordingly, this well-documented strategy might assist teachers in better serving children who are at risk of literacy development like those who are deaf and hard of hearing.

However, the issue is in determining how phonological awareness plays out its role in reading a language that is guided by a different set of principles. The Chinese language is distinct from the written system of English. Although recent scientific evidence has revealed the positive relationship between phonological awareness and Chinese reading, little research has been conducted regarding the effects of phonological awareness training on early Chinese reading of children who are deaf and hard of hearing. …

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