Sunday, March 20, 2005

Reading and Deaf Children

Loeterman, M., Paul, P., & Donahue, S. (2002, February). Reading and deaf children. Reading
Online. Retrieved March 20, 2005, from

The authors of this article discussed the first phase of a technology enhanced approach to classroom literacy development called Cornerstones. One of the reasons I enjoyed this article so much was that it provided valuable evidence of the use of a literacy development program regarding its influence on deaf and hard of hearing students. Furthermore, it supported the ever popular technology integration concept of content first, technology second. Judi Harris advocates for the asking of two is it worth it questions when she discusses the use of technology: does it allow you to do something you couldn't do before, or does it allow you to do something you could do before but better. It is clear through this article that the Cornerstones project clearly displays this mindset by placing the content of delivery first and seeing the technology integration as a way to make the delivery of this content more effective.

At the content base of this program is teaching word meaning through multiple strategies such as concept maps, figurative language, and multiple meanings. Teachers introduce and cover a unit for six to eight days, two hours per day. Within these units, students are immersed in the language and ideas of given short stories. The units are pre-established by the designers of Cornerstones. However, technology is used to enhance the instruction and maintain motivation through the ability to present stories in various forms (i.e. english, ASL, print), the use of still pictures, story video, clip art, interactive games (that address word meaning), and video retellings. Through these forms of media, students are exposed and re-exposed to various forms of vocabulary and are able to develop a stronger sense of understanding regarding the meaning of given target words.

Results of this study showed an increase in student understanding of word meaning and ability to comprehend what was read. Through this technology enhanced project the reading level of deaf and hard of hearing students was beginning to increase. Due to the results of this study, new funding is being received by the United States Federal Government and a phase two of Cornerstones is going to be implemented. I will be interested to see the results of the more rigorous implementation of this program.

Furthermore, if I were to connect information from this article with information from others I have read, I would say that this program would work well with ENFI--the writing program posted earlier. ENFI could be used as a method of discussing stories and key vocabulary addressed throughout a Cornerstone unit. This would open students to not only the reading aspect of language, but would perhaps assist them in transferring this knowledge to writing. It appears to me that technology designed specifically for deaf and hard of hearing students seems to positively influence their literacy development. Furthermore, this program, Cornerstones, could be used to influence literacy development of hearing students. In my opinion, this is the sign of a well-rounded curriculum--one that can be individualized to meet the needs of any student.


At 10:46 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

Hi I just wanted you to know I enjoyed your blog.
Thanks, Michelle

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