Longitudinal Patterns of Emerging Literacy in Beginning Deaf and Hearing Readers
The emerging reading and spelling abilities of 24 deaf and 23 hearing beginning readers were followed over 2 years. The deaf children varied in their language backgrounds and preferred mode of communication. All children were given a range of literacy, cognitive and language-based tasks every 12 months. Deaf and hearing children made similar progress in literacy in the beginning stages of reading development and then their trajectories began to diverge. The longitudinal correlates of beginning reading in the deaf children were earlier vocabulary, letter-sound knowledge, and speechreading. Earlier phonological awareness was not a longitudinal correlate of reading ability once earlier reading levels were controlled. Only letter name knowledge was longitudinally related to spelling ability. Speechreading was also a strong longitudinal correlate of reading and spelling in the hearing children. The findings suggested that deaf and hearing children utilize slightly different reading strategies over the first 2 years of schooling.