Examining the role of phonological awareness, speech-based phonological recoding, and orthographic processing on reading development in deaf bilinguals of ASL and English

Cooley, Frances Grosvenor
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This dissertation targets the role of speech-based phonology on reading development in deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) children. Researchers have long debated the role of spoken language phonics knowledge and phonological awareness on reading development in DHH children without access to speech sounds (Allen et al., 2009; Wang et al., 2008). Phonological awareness, which is the metalinguistic awareness of basic units of speech and the ability to consciously manipulate the linguistic units within words and sentences (Castles & Coltheart, 2004; Liberman & Shankweiler, 1985; Wagner & Torgesen, 1987), relates to reading skill in typically developing hearing children (Goswami & Bryant, 1990). Hearing readers of orthographic scripts begin reading by sounding out words and is dependent on the association between graphemes and speech sounds. However, our understanding of the processes by which DHH children read is vague at best as some investigations have shown a positive association between reading and spoken language phonological awareness in DHH children (Campbell & Wright, 1988; Dyer et al., 2003), while others have failed to find such a correlation (Izzo, 2002; Kyle & Harris, 2006; Leybaert & Alegria, 1993; Miller, 1997). I test the degree to which speech-based codes are active in adolescent DHH readers who grew up with robust exposure to a signed language thought childhood and school. Chapter 1 provides an overview of the relevant literature pertaining to the two reported studies. Chapter 2 discusses phonological awareness of speech and sign, as well as a variety of approaches to testing phonological awareness. Within this Chapter I introduce the methodology and results from the first half of the first study. Chapter 3 will then introduce eye-tracking and reading, as well as the eye-tracking results from the first study. Chapter 4 describes the last study of the dissertation, which tests the impact of spelling knowledge and speech-based homophony on reading and lexical decision tasks in DHH students. Finally, Chapter 5 provides a discussion of the three content Chapters together.