Given the well-known reading difficulties of deaf students, a program has been developed to bypass the sound barrier for reading development (i.e., speech-based reading skills and spoken language knowledge; Supalla & Blackburn, 2003). The gap between American Sign Language (ASL) and written English is wide and must be closed according to the linguistic accessibility framework. Reading instruction subject to investigation is based on the use of special tools along with instructional procedures designed to facilitate the transition from ASL (L1) to written English (L2; Supalla, Wix, & McKee, 2001). A two-week tutorial case study was undertaken with two deaf elementary-aged students. This study is based on a mixed methods design that includes quantitative and qualitative data. The first type of data subject to analysis was collected both through the students' work in decoding signs written in an ASL alphabet and in their reading aloud activities with gloss text. The deaf students' performances are examined through the use of Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills and running records. The students' change in performance over time reveals that they made progress through the Curriculum-Based Assessment and post-tutorial assessment. The second type of data collected through videotaping classroom discourse (using ASL for teaching reading), was subject to analysis to capture the students' reading behaviors. The description of the tutorial sessions indicates that the two students are able to learn how to read through a scaffolded procedure. The guided reading activities led by the tutor provide rich insights on how the students' signed language knowledge is connected to print and with English. The relationship of what is learned in the classroom and the performance with the measures are found to be positive. The ramifications of these findings include a consideration for how regular education operates as well as the education of other children who experience reading difficulties.
|Adviser||Samuel J. Supalla|
|School||THE UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA|
|Subjects||Linguistics; Special education; Reading instruction|
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