[PS-2.15] Reading profiles in deaf and hard-of-hearing adults

Wauters, L. 1 , van Gelder, H. 1 & Tijsseling, C. 2

1 Royal Dutch Kentalis
2 GGMD (Mental Health and Social Services for DHH people)

There has been a long history of reading research in deaf education. For many deaf children, reading is still a challenging task and they often leave school with low reading levels (Harris & Terlektsi, 2010; Harris et al., 2017). There is much less evidence on reading in deaf adults, but huge variation has been found in their reading levels (Bélanger et al., 2012; Zazove et al., 2013). We have studied reading in 80 deaf adults in the Netherlands. We examined their reading skills (word recognition, fluency, vocabulary, and reading comprehension) and reading habits to see if we could identify different reading profiles.
From the results we identified three groups of readers: weak readers, superficial readers, and comprehenders. The first group of readers (26% of the participants) had difficulty in all areas of reading and had a reading level below 6th grade. The superficial readers (42,5% of the participants) read at the sixth grade level and mainly had difficulties in understanding the deeper meaning of words and texts. The comprehenders had no difficulty in understanding the reading materials.
We will present how we came to these reading profiles and discuss the implications for deaf education and possible interventions for deaf adults.