Evaluating the structure of early english literacy skills in deaf and hard-of-hearing children

Mi Young Webb, Amy R. Lederberg, Lee Branum-Martin, Carol McDonald Connor

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    27 Scopus citations


    Better understanding the mechanisms underlying developing literacy has promoted the development of more effective reading interventions for typically developing children. Such knowledge may facilitate effective instruction of deaf and hard-of-hearing (DHH) children. Hence, the current study examined the multivariate associations among phonological awareness, alphabetic knowledge, word reading, and vocabulary skills in DHH children who have auditory access to speech. One hundred and sixty-seven DHH children (Mage = 60.43 months) were assessed with a battery of early literacy measures. Forty-six percent used at least 1 cochlear implant; 54% were fitted with hearing aids. About a fourth of the sample was acquiring both spoken English and sign. Scores on standardized tests of phonological awareness and vocabulary averaged at least 1 standard deviation (SD) below the mean of the hearing norming sample. Confirmatory factor analyses showed that DHH children's early literacy skills were best characterized by a complex 3-factor model in which phonological awareness, alphabetic knowledge, and vocabulary formed 3 separate, but highly correlated constructs, with letter-sound knowledge and word reading skills relating to both phonological awareness and alphabetic knowledge. This supports the hypothesis that early reading of DHH children with functional hearing is qualitatively similar to that of hearing children.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)343-355
    Number of pages13
    JournalJournal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - Oct 2015

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Education
    • Speech and Hearing


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