[PS-1.21] Strategies used by deaf and hearing children during online reading

Thompson, R. L. 1 , Watkins, F. 1 , Mann, W. . 2 & O'Neill, R. . 3

1 University of Birmingham
2 Roehampton University
3 University of Edinburgh

We investigated online reading strategies in deaf and hearing teens, asking: (1) what differences exist between print-based reading on a screen and reading web-based text with more visual information? And (2) do hearing and deaf readers use different strategies to search for online information? Twenty participants with reading levels at, or ±1 year of age-matched norms (age 12-14) completed two 30-minute reading comprehension tasks using an eye-tracker. Three groups (n=5 Deaf with BSL as preferred language, n=8 deaf with English as preferred language, n=7 hearing English speakers) were included. Task-1 involved reading a text document on screen, Task-2 used an interactive website. Both tasks required answering comprehension questions related to source materials. Preliminary data comparing Task-1 and Task-2 indicates all groups perform better when using web-based compared with text-only materials (62% correct vs. 75%). Comparison of Signing Deaf, Oral Deaf and Hearing readers revealed that both groups of deaf readers make significantly more use of visual aids (pictures, tables, video) compared with hearing readers (23% & 22% vs. 12%). Overall, the data suggest visual aids can help readers when searching for information. However, deaf teens (oral or signing) may be more able to use this strategy than hearing teens.