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The Impact Of Phonological Awareness On The Reading Development Of Deaf And Hard Of Hearing Students

2908 words - 12 pages

The relationship between phonological awareness and reading development of D/HH children was discovered in the early 1970s (Nielsen & Stahlman, 2002). Research found that D/HH children who read better often have phonological awareness skills. Moreover, some research asserts that D/HH students will not be able to read if they do not have phonological awareness (Nielsen & Stahlman, 2003). Some studies explicitly indicate that the D/HH students' low reading achievements refer to the lack of phonological awareness skills. Adams, as reported by Nielsen and Stahlman (2002), emphasize in his book Beginning to read: Thinking and learning about print, that phonological awareness is necessary for deaf children to understand words and text that they read. In addition, Paul (1998) points out the importance of the use of phonological awareness in short term memory to develop the comprehension skills of D/HH children. Furthermore, many studies assert that phonological awareness plays a significant role in developing the abilities of D/HH children to unlock unknown words. Narr (2006), indicates that phonological awareness, in specific phonemic skills, assist D/HH children to improve their skills and abilities of sound identification, sound blending, and sound manipulation. Deaf and hard of hearing children who lack phonological awareness struggle reading because reading requires children to be able to map sound to the letters that they read (Nielsen and Stahlman, 2002). Even though some deaf children can use their visual memory of words to read, they still need to improve their phonological awareness to develop their reading proficiency (Miller and Clark, 2011). In general, phonological awareness skills are important, but it cannot be the only factor of reading proficiency (Narr, 2006).
Phonological awareness includes three processes related to reading development. The first process is phonic, which refers to understanding that sounds represent printed letters (Nielsen and Stahlman, 2002). Three studies conducted by Ehri (1980, 1991, and 1995); found that children develop their phonological awareness skills gradually. They develop first their awareness at word level, then at syllable level, and the last level is phoneme. This can be difficult for deaf children who only use ASL language (as was cited in the Nielsen and Stahlman, 2002). Narr (2006) indicates that the process of acquiring phonological awareness might be easier for hard of hearing children than children who have severe or profound hearing loss. Most hard of hearing children use their residual hearing to access sound in spoken language. However, not all hard of hearing children have complete access to the phonological awareness through only audition. They still need more visual support to facilitate their acquisition of phonological awareness. Researchers found some techniques such as...

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