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Educating Deaf StudentsFrom Research to Practice$
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Marc Marschark, Harry G. Lang, and John A. Albertini

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195310702

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780195310702.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 24 June 2021

Reading, Writing, and Literacy

Reading, Writing, and Literacy

Chapter:
(p.156) (p.157) 8 Reading, Writing, and Literacy
Source:
Educating Deaf Students
Author(s):

Marc Marschark

Harry G. Lang

John A. Albertini

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780195310702.003.0013

Language is an essential component of normal development and a means for discovering the world. As we have seen, however, deaf children frequently do not have full access to communication until they have passed the most important ages for language acquisition. Parents and educators of young deaf students thus often struggle to find a balance between fostering effective early communication skills, which research has shown is usually best achieved through sign language, and the provision of English skills needed for literacy and academic success. Despite decades of concerted effort, most deaf children progress at only a fraction of the rate of hearing peers in learning to read. Current data indicate that, on average, 18-year-old deaf students leaving high school have reached only a fourth to sixth grade level in reading skills. Only about 3 percent of those 18 year olds read at the same level as the average 18- year-old hearing reader, and more than 30 percent of deaf students leave school functionally illiterate (Traxler, 2000; Kelly, 1995; Waters & Doehring, 1990). At the same time, there are clearly many deaf adults and children who are excellent readers and excellent writers. How can we account for these differences? What are the implications for educators developing English curricula for deaf students? To answer these questions, we first need to consider what is meant by literacy—that is, what is it we are asking students to acquire? Then, we have to understand how deaf students read, at both descriptive and procedural levels. In this chap ter, we consider only literacy relating to print materials (reading and writing); other possibilities will be considered in chapter 9. But is the question whether deaf students read well enough to fulfill the needs and expectations of their teachers? Is it important to know how well various subgroups of deaf learners read compared to each other? Or, do we want to know how well deaf students read, as a group, compared to hearing students of the same age?

Keywords:   balanced literacy, cultural literacy, fingerspelling, grammar, mouthing, nonliteral constructions, orthographies, phonics, readability formulas

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