[PS-1.5] Investigating Phonological Awareness of English, ASL, and Speechreading in Native Deaf Signers

Cooley, F. & Quinto-Pozos, D.

University of Texas at Austin

Various reports suggest that DHH children rely on speechreading to help lay a foundation of spoken-language phonology needed for early literacy development. Alternatively, some scholars suggest that DHH signers? visual-language phonological awareness skills benefit reading development. We test these two approaches by investigating deaf children?s performance on a variety of measures of phonological awareness, including English phonology, speechreading skills, and ASL phonology. Additionally, we report reading fluency as measured by the Woodcock-Johnson III Test of Silent Reading Fluency (WCJ) in DHH signers.
Current analysis includes data from 17 children (9 DHH, 8 TH) ages 10;0-12;9. All DHH native signers read at grade level, as measured by the WCJ. Statistically, groups do not differ significantly on scores of phonological awareness in English or ASL, though these measures are approaching significance following expected patterns. Differences in speechreading skills, however, demonstrate no differences in speechreading scores (Test of Child Speechreading: Words subtest- t = -1.69, p = 0.11; Sentences subtest: t = 0.05, p = 0.62; Speechreading Similarity Judgement Task: t = -1.12; p = 0.3) These data suggest that, speechreading may not be utilized as much by DHH as previously suggested.