Graduate Research Papers


Open Access Graduate Research Paper


Reading and writing skills are generally considered to be the primary educational needs of deaf children. Although the field of deaf education is fraught with controversy regarding the most desirable communication mode for the deaf (i.e., oral or sign language or a combination), on one thing the experts agree: The deaf need to learn to read and write the language of their peers with normal hearing. It may appear on the surface that reading and writing instruction would be obvious tools in helping these individuals develop language proficiency. However, years of experience have shown that typical deaf individuals do not attain the language level of typical hearing persons, in spite of intense efforts directed towards increasing their language level through use of written language forms. King and Quigley (1985) found that at the school-leaving age of 18 years, the typical deaf student scores at only about the fourth or fifth grade level on standardized reading achievement tests, or about the same level as a typical 9 or 10 year old hearing student. In fact, 3 only 10% of all eighteen-year-old deaf individuals can read at or above 8th grade level (Trybus and Karchmer, 1977). Deaf students' written language skills also vary greatly from that of their hearing peers. Children with normal hearing communicate fluently through the aural-oral modes with their parents and others. This allows them to internalize their childhood experiences in auditory form. It also helps provide them with real-world language experiences which they can bring to the reading task, and use to develop the linguistic and cognitive skills needed for success in reading.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education


Department of Curriculum and Instruction


Division of Elementary Education

First Advisor

Marvin Heller


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