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Predictors of Word and Text Reading Fluency of Deaf Children in Bilingual Deaf Education Programmes

Ormel, Ellen and Giezen, Marcel R and Knoors, Harry and Verhoeven, Ludo and Gutierrez, Eva (2022) 'Predictors of Word and Text Reading Fluency of Deaf Children in Bilingual Deaf Education Programmes.' Languages, 7 (1). p. 51. ISSN 2226-471X

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Reading continues to be a challenging task for most deaf children. Bimodal bilingual education creates a supportive environment that stimulates deaf children’s learning through the use of sign language. However, it is still unclear how exposure to sign language might contribute to improving reading ability. Here, we investigate the relative contribution of several cognitive and linguistic variables to the development of word and text reading fluency in deaf children in bimodal bilingual education programmes. The participants of this study were 62 school-aged (8 to 10 years old at the start of the 3-year study) deaf children who took part in bilingual education (using Dutch and Sign Language of The Netherlands) and 40 age-matched hearing children. We assessed vocabulary knowledge in speech and sign, phonological awareness in speech and sign, receptive fingerspelling ability, and short-term memory at time 1 (T1). At times 2 (T2) and 3 (T3), we assessed word and text reading fluency. We found that (1) speech-based vocabulary strongly predicted word and text reading at T2 and T3, (2) fingerspelling ability was a strong predictor of word and text reading fluency at T2 and T3, (3) speech-based phonological awareness predicted word reading accuracy at T2 and T3 but did not predict text reading fluency, and (4) finger-spelling and STM predicted word reading latency at T2 while sign-based phonological aware-ness predicted this outcome measure at T3. These results suggest that fingerspelling may have an important function in facilitating the construction of orthographical/phonological representations of printed words for deaf children and strengthening word decoding and recognition abilities.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: deafness; reading development; bimodal bilingual education; word reading; text reading; sign language; phonological awareness; vocabulary; fingerspelling
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health
Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 25 Feb 2022 11:12
Last Modified: 05 Mar 2022 01:20

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