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IES Grant

Title: Improving Deaf Preschoolers' Literacy Skills
Center: NCSER Year: 2006
Principal Investigator: Lederberg, Amy Awardee: Georgia State University Research Foundation, Inc
Program: Early Intervention and Early Learning in Special Education      [Program Details]
Award Period: 7/1/2006 to 6/30/2009 Award Amount: $1,468,299
Goal: Development and Innovation Award Number: R324E060035
Description:

Purpose: Poor literacy has characterized the deaf and hard of hearing population for decades, with national data suggesting that median literacy rates of deaf high school graduates have remained consistently at around the fourth grade level. Recent advances in both education (scientifically-based reading curricula for hearing children, early intervention for deaf and hard of hearing children) and technology (newborn hearing screening, cochlear implants, digital hearing aids) have created a greater potential for literacy achievement among students who are deaf and hard of hearing . Conversely, few advances in research address how to best teach emergent literacy skills to these children.

To address this need, researchers at Georgia State University are developing and conducting an initial evaluation of a new curriculum called Foundations for Literacy, which is a phonics-based, language-rich, emergent literacy program for deaf and hard of hearing children. The curriculum is designed to promote children's acquisition of phonics, phonological awareness, vocabulary, and narrative skills. Foundations for Literacy will consist of 100 60-minute structured lessons that teachers and clinicians can use four days a week across the school year. An important component of the curriculum is the individualization of lessons based on the large variation in children's language, speech perception, and phonological skills.

Setting: Participating students will be from schools in urban and suburban Georgia.

Population: During the first two years, project personnel will assess growth across the school year of emergent literacy skills of approximately 60 deaf and hard of hearing 3 to 6 year olds. All children with parental permission who attend self-contained classes for children with hearing loss and have at least a 50 dB loss will be included. During all three years, certified teachers of the deaf (project personnel) will deliver the intervention to small groups of young deaf and hard of hearing children (n=5-10) who can identify spoken words from a closed set (i.e., word identification on the Early Speech Perception Test).

Intervention: The intervention that is being developed –Foundations for Literacy – will consist of 100 60-minute structured lessons that teachers and clinicians can use four days a week across the school year. It embeds explicit instruction of phonics, phonological awareness, vocabulary, and narrative skills into language-rich, visually-supported activities. Lessons are individualized based on children's language, speech perception, and emergent literacy skills. Teachers and clinicians will introduce phonics (grapheme-phoneme correspondences) through the use of stories that give deaf and hard of hearing children a semantic context by which they can remember the phoneme and will provide children with multiple opportunities to produce the phoneme in isolation. Vocabulary learned in these language experiences and phoneme-associated picture cards reappear in phonological awareness activities that focus on rhyming, alliteration, and segmentation. Lessons are sequential and cumulative with children practicing phonics in fluency activities and reading decodable text as they build their phonics knowledge. Story-book reading based on dialogic reading research further facilitates the development of vocabulary and narrative skills.

Project Activities: The research team will use an iterative process to develop Foundations for Literacy. The team will begin by developing a framework for the curriculum based on consultation with directors and teachers in schools for the deaf, as well as national experts, systematic review of scientifically-validated curricula for hearing preschoolers, and assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of deaf and hard of hearing children. Project personnel will implement short lessons to assess the effect of phonics instruction, as well as to pilot phonological awareness activities and dialogic reading. The full curriculum will then be implemented with small groups of deaf and hard of hearing children who represent a range of abilities. Single-case design studies will assess the effects of instructional strategies for teaching phonics and phonological awareness on children's acquisition of target skills, and pre- and post-tests will measure gains in curriculum-based skills, with a comparison of children receiving the intervention to those receiving typical literacy instruction.

Products: The products of this include a fully developed literacy intervention for children who are deaf and hard of hearing, peer-reviewed publications, and presentations.

Structured Abstract

Research Design and Methods: Project personnel will use an iterative process to develop the curriculum. During the first phase, a framework for the curriculum will be developed based on consultation with directors and teachers in schools for the deaf, as well as national experts, systematic review of scientifically-validated curriculum for hearing preschoolers, and assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of deaf and hard of hearing children. Project personnel will implement a short-term implementation of half-hour lessons to assess the effect of phonics instruction, as well as to pilot phonological awareness activities and dialogic reading. During the second and third phase, research teachers will implement the full curriculum with small groups of deaf and hard of hearing children who represent a range of abilities. Single-case designs (multiple-baseline across content or across participants) will assess the effects of instructional strategies for teaching phonics and phonological awareness (e.g., rhyming, initial-sound segmentation). Throughout the year, results from progress monitoring assessments will be used to assess whether children are learning target skills and to improve the design of the lessons.

A pre-posttest design using both standardized tests and curriculum-based assessments will be used to investigate the potential effects of the overall curriculum for acquisition of phonics, phonological awareness, and vocabulary. Results from the three sources of data, plus observations of effects of lessons will guide improvement of the scope and sequence of the curriculum and contribute to individualization of the lessons. Researchers will compare growth for children who received Foundations for Literacy with those who did not using a matched quasi-experimental design.

Control Condition: The control group for the final study will include deaf and hard of hearing children 3–6 years of age enrolled in self-contained classrooms who will receive their school-selected instruction.

Key Measures: The effects of the developed curriculum will be evaluated using a battery of commercially developed and non-commercially developed measures at pre and post intervention. Commercial measures assess phonological awareness (Phonological Awareness Test 2-PAT, the Test of Preschool Early Literacy -TOPEL, Individual Growth and Development Indicators-IGDI), vocabulary (PPVT, EOWVT) and literacy skills (WJAT-III; Letter-sound correspondence). Single-case design will use curriculum-based measures.

Data Analytic Strategy: For single-subject designs, researchers will use visual inspection to determine differences across baseline and treatment phases. The percentage of overlapping data between baseline and treatment phases will assess the effect size of instruction. Researchers will use repeated measure analyses of covariance or hierarchical linear modeling (if intraclass correlations are large) to examine pretest/posttest gains in outcome measures for intervention children versus a matched-sample of comparison children.

Publications

Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Beal-Alvarez, J., Lederberg, A.R., and Easterbrooks, S.R. (2012). Grapheme-Phoneme Acquisition of Deaf Preschoolers. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 17(1): 39–60. doi:10.1093/deafed/enr030

Bergeron, J.P., Lederberg, A.R., Easterbrooks, S.R., Miller, E.M., and Connor, C.M. (2009). Building the Alphabetic Principle in Young Children Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. Volta Review, 109(2): 87–119.

Coyne, M.D., Simmons, D.C., Hagan-Burke, S., Simmons, L.E., Kwok, O., Kim, M., Fogarty, M., Oslund, E., Taylor, A., Capozzoli-Oldham, A., Ware, S., Little, M.E., and Rawlinson, D.M. (2013). Adjusting Beginning Reading Intervention Based on Student Performance: An Experimental Evaluation. Exceptional Children, 80(1): 25–44. doi:10.1177/001440291308000101

Easterbrooks, S.R., Lederberg, A.R., and Connor, C.M. (2010). Contributions of the Emergent Literacy Environment to Literacy Outcomes for Young Children Who Are Deaf. American Annals of the Deaf, 155(4): 467–480. doi:10.1353/aad.2010.0024

Easterbrooks, S.R., Lederberg, A.R., Miller, E.M., Bergeron, J.P., and Connor, C.M. (2008). Emergent Literacy Skills During Early Childhood in Children With Hearing Loss: Strengths and Weaknesses. Volta Review, 108(2): 91–114.

Goldberg, H., and Lederberg, A.R. (2015). Acquisition of the Alphabetic Principle in Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Preschoolers: The Role of Phonology in Letter-Sound Learning. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 28(4): 509–525. doi:10.1007/s11145–014–9535–y?

Goldberg, H., and Lederberg, A.R. (2015). Acquisition of the Alphabetic Principle in Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Preschoolers: The Role of Phonology in Letter-Sound Learning. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 28(4): 509–525. doi:10.1007/s11145–014–9535–y

Lederberg, A.R., Miller, E.M., Easterbrooks, S.R., and Connor, C.M. (2014). Foundations for Litearcy: An Early Literacy Interveniton for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 19(4): 438–455. doi:10.1093/deafed/enu022 Full text

Lederberg, A.R., Schick, B., and Spencer, P.E. (2013). Language and Literacy Development of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children: Successes and Challenges. Developmental Psychology, 49(1): 15–30. doi:10.1037/a0029558

McAlenney, A.L., and Coyne, M.D. (2015). Addressing False Positives in Early Reading Assessment Using Intervention Response Data. Learning Disability Quarterly, 38(1): 53–65. doi:10.1177/0731948713514057

Miller, E.M., Lederberg, A.R., and Easterbrooks, S.R. (2013). Phonological Awareness: Explicit Instruction for Young Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 18(2): 206–227. doi:10.1093/deafed/ens067

Tucci, S.L., and Easterbrooks, S.R. (2015). A Syllable Segmentation, Letter-Sound, and Initial Sound Intervention With Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing and use Sign Language. Journal of Special Education, 48(4): 279–289 . doi:10.1177/0022466913504462

Webb, M.Y, Lederberg, A R., Branum-Martin, L., and Connor, C.M. (2015). Evaluating the Structure of Early English Literacy Skills in Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 20(4): 343–355. doi:10.1093/deafed/env024

Webb, M-Y, and Lederberg, A.R. (2014). Measuring Phonological Awareness in Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 57(1): 131–142. doi:10.1044/1092–4388(2013/12–0106)


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