Unit 2: Developing Literacy Skills: Reading

2.1. Pre-requisites for reading and emergent reading skills

2.2. Assessment of reading skills at different levels

2.3. Approaches and Strategies to develop reading skills and independent reading

2.4. Types and Models of developing reading skills

2.5. Challenges and Remedial strategies











2.1. Pre-requisites for reading and emergent reading skills


Reading is a very critical skill to all human kind both the hearing and those individuals with hearing impairments. It is a communicative skill which allows one to appreciate what others have written in print. Reading is very important because it enables one to access information, read for pleasure as a way of relaxing, get direction among others. Hearing individuals read by converting printed letters into phonological code that feeds into their auditory language system (Azbel, 2004). This is a strategy that the hearing employ in coping with reading skill. Individuals with hearing impairments however do not have the ability to read by converting printed letters into phonological code because their auditory system is impaired. This leaves many wondering how the learners with hearing impairments learn to read for comprehension.

Reading is the process of looking at written symbols and letters and understanding the meaning of them. It's one of the four main language skills alongside listening, speaking and writing. Reading is usually the third language skill that you learn in your language - it comes after listening and speaking.

When we read, we look at written symbols (letters, punctuation, spaces) and use our brains to convert them into words and sentences that have meaning to us. We can read silently (in our heads) or read aloud - speaking every word that we read.

To be able to read, we need to be able to:

Pre-reading skills are the skills children need in order to help them to become a reader. Many of these skills are learnt naturally, during the course of a normal childhood, at home and in the nursery/preschool environment. By talking and reading with your child, you will be doing a great deal to help these essential skills to develop.

Matching: When we read, part of what we do involves matching. Children learn to match shapes, patterns, letters and, finally, words.

Rhyming: Research shows that children who can understand about rhyming words have a head start in learning to read and, even more, to spell.

Letter skills: As well as recognising letter shapes, learning the most common sounds that each letter makes will give children a head start.

Direction: Print goes from left to right, so children will need to be familiar with where to start each line and which direction to go in.

Motor skills: Practicing writing letters and words as they learn to read them will help it all to sink in, so a good pencil grip and control is useful.

Concepts of print: This is all about knowing how to handle books - holding them the right way up, turning the pages in sequence, exploring the pictures, knowing that the words can be read to tell a story.

Language skills: The more experience children have of language, the more easily they will learn to read. Your child needs to hear and join in conversations (with adults and children), and listen to stories and poetry of all sorts.

Despite the importance of all of these skills, it is an inescapable fact that they will be practiced and improved by learning to read. There is no need to delay reading until your child passes a test in 'reading readiness'. If they start pretending to read, or asking questions, such as "What does that word say?", "What letter is that?", this is a more certain sign that they are ready to read. However, they won't be asking questions like that if they have never heard of words or letters, so reading and sharing books together, talking about the pictures, following the words as you read with your finger will all help.

Pre-reading Skills

·      voluntarily look at or try to read books

·      indicate a desire to be read to

·      know books by their names

·      listen attentively while being read to

·      examine pictures when being read to

·      recognize favourite books (i.e. by cover, colour, size)

·      request the re-reading of familiar books

·      respond with/to questions or comments on stories

·      ask to take books home to read

·      read or request to be read to at home

·      fill in words as adult reads

·      open a book to look at

·      correct a book which is upside down

·      turn pages right to left, one at a time

·      read pictures without text

·      identify the front, back, top, and bottom of a book

·      indicate the difference between words and pictures

·      associate a word with its picture

·      indicate that it is the text that is read

·      know what a title is

·      know what an author/illustrator is

·      indicate the first word in a sentence is the starting place for reading

·      indicate print is read from left to right, top to bottom

·      identify upper-case letters

·      identify lower-case letters

·      know what a letter is and identify same

·      know what a word is and identify same

·      indicate that there are spaces between words

·      differentiate letters from words

·      use pictures to pretend read

·      use memory to read text

·      attempt reading by attending to picture clues and print

·      demonstrate an understanding that pictures have names and represent real objects

·      demonstrate an understanding that pictures represent characters and actions

·      retell stories (e.g., orally, sequencing pictures)

·      demonstrate auditory discrimination of environmental sounds

·      examine pictures in books, requesting that an adult name the picture

·      draw a word or letter with finger upon request

·      recognize his/her own name in print

·      engage in pretend-reading to self and others

·      remember details from a familiar story

·      remember details in correct sequence


Components of Reading skills:

·      Phonics: The relationship between written and spoken letters and sounds.

·      Phonological awareness: The knowledge and manipulation of sounds in spoken words.

·      Fluency: The ability to read with accuracy and with appropriate rate, expression and phrasing

·      Vocabulary: The knowledge of words, their definition and context

·      Comprehension: The overall understanding i.e. the meaning of the text

Hearing loss causes a smaller listening bubble and reduces the amount of incidental language learning that a child will hear. It is said that about 80% of vocabulary is learned from overhearing – or incidental learning. Factor in the reality that it takes about 20,000 hours of listening before a child’s brain is ready to learn reading. Together, these factors bring home the reality that children with hearing loss are often not ready to begin to learn to read at the same time as their age peers.


Examples of first-grade reading skills include:

Note: All these skills rely on careful listening.

Can Hearing Loss Affect These Reading Skills?
YES! There is a direct connection between listening to speech and learning to read.

The first skill in reading is learning to apply a sound (i.e., the B in Book) to a particular letter. This skill is called sound-letter association.

Why Start Now?
A child needs consistent auditory input for 5–6 years before the brain is ready to make the connection between letters of the alphabet and the sound associated with them.

When children do not have that consistent input for 5–6 years, they are less ready to read and learn with their peers.


Six Things Parents Can Do to Promote Reading Readiness

1.     Help your child hear speech all day with consistent amplification (hearing aids, implants, and FM systems).

2.     Help your child develop “text awareness” by pointing to words as well as pictures as you read books to your child.

3.     Talk about sounds in words. Change a letter in a word to create a word that rhymes.

4.     List words that start with the same sound as your child’s name (phonemic awareness).

5.     Talk about synonyms and antonyms.

6.     Help your child hear speech all day with consistent amplification.

The emergent literacy model says that literacy is an incrementally acquired skill that includes literacy-related behaviors and complex, interdependent developmental relationships among factors such as pre-reading behaviors and the environments that influence social skills (Reese et al., 2010). Consistent with this model, Whitehurst and Lonigan posit an intersection of a child’s ability to decode print units into sound units and then place these sound units into a meaningful context. In their original conceptualization, they suggested these skills could be best described as “outside-in” and “inside-out” processes of emergent literacy (Whitehurst and Lonigan, 1998, 2001). Outside-in processes are what and how children understand from reading, including semantic knowledge and narrative; the skills come from outside the printed word. Inside-out processes are how children understand print as sounds and words, including alphabetic knowledge, phonological awareness, and print awareness; the skills come from inside the printed word. Language units, such as vocabulary knowledge and morphosyntax, represent the intersection of outside-in and inside-out processes.

It has also been suggested that print awareness and phonological awareness skills are important in earlier stages of emergent reading and phonological awareness and oral language skills may play a greater role as complexity and reading skill increases later in development.


2.2. Assessment of reading skills at different levels


Assessment is an essential element of education used to inform instruction (Wren, 2004). The first step in implementing good reading instruction is to determine student baseline performance. Students enter the classroom with diverse backgrounds and skills in literacy. Some students may enter the classroom with special needs that require review of basic skills in reading, while other students may have mastered the content a teacher intends to cover. Due to these various student levels, it is necessary to design literacy instruction to meet the individual needs of each student. Individual needs can be determined by initial and ongoing reading assessments.

These assessments provide teachers with the information needed to develop appropriate lessons and improve instruction for all students, including students with disabilities (Rhodes & Shanklin, 1993). The information gained from appropriate assessment enables teachers to provide exceptional students with improved access to the general education curriculum. The following information is an overview of the purpose and benefits of early reading assessment, examples of data collection methods, and considerations for selecting a measure for students.

To monitor student progress, schools and individual teachers conduct different types of assessments with students:

Screening assessments are given to all students at the start of the school year to determine which students are at risk of struggling with reading.

Diagnostic assessments are used to assess specific skills or components of reading such as phonemic awareness, phonics skills, and fluency.

·      Norm-referenced assessments are formal assessments, often used as diagnostic tools. The score compares the student’s skills to a defined population used in standardizing the test (i.e., how did this student perform on these tasks compared to other students in the same grade or age range). 

·      Criterion-referenced assessments are both formal and informal assessments, and are also used as diagnostic tools. The score compares the student’s skills to a defined set of skills and a goal (criterion) for mastery. 

Outcome assessments, also called high stakes assessments, are given to all students in a grade. They measure students’ skills against grade-level expectations. Outcome assessments are used to make decisions about students, teachers, a school, or even an entire school system.

The goals of assessment can be categorized in many ways. All assessment frameworks carry important purposes. The five purposes for reading assessment are stated as follows:

1. Reading-proficiency assessment (standardized testing)

2. Assessment of classroom learning

3. Assessment for learning (supporting student learning is the purpose)

4. Assessment for curricular purposes

5. Assessment for research purposes

Reading- proficiency assessment is important as a way to understand students’ overall reading abilities and to determine if students are appropriately prepared for further learning and educational advancement. This type of testing is referred to as standardized testing. Such assessments are also used for student placement, policy decisions, curriculum changes or for program, teacher or institutional evaluation. Assessment of reading in classroom settings involves the measurement of skills and knowledge gained over a period of time and is referred to as summative or achievement testing. Such tests uses tasks that reflect the material taught in class and the skills practiced. Assessment for learning engages students in their own learning and responds to indicators of non- understanding or weak performances with ongoing remediation and fine-tuning of instruction. Assessment of curricular effectiveness extend beyond the immediate goals of student assessment. They include standardized testing, cumulative records, interviews with teachers, administrators, students and feedback from institutions that receive graduates from the programme and innovative assessments that highlight school or program goals. Research studies use standardized instruments to measure student instructional outcomes.

Letter knowledge: the ability to associate sounds with letters

One example of an assessment for letter knowledge is to present a student with a list of letters and ask the student to name each letter. Another example is to have a student separate the letters from a pile of letters, numbers, and symbols. Students can also be asked to separate and categorize letters by uppercase and lowercase (Torgesen, 1998; Wren, 2004).

The following list is a sample of assessment measures to test letter knowledge skills:

Phonemic awareness: the ability to hear and manipulate sounds in words

These assessments examine a student's knowledge of how sounds make words. A student can be asked to break spoken words into parts, or to blend spoken parts of a word into one word. Additionally, a student can count the number of phonemes in a word to demonstrate understanding, or a student can delete or add a phoneme to make a new word (Torgesen, 1998; Wren, 2004).

The following list is a sample of assessment measures to test phonemic awareness skills:

Decoding: the process of using lettersound correspondences to recognize words

An assessment that examines a student's decoding skills looks at a child's reading accuracy. One example of this type of measure is to have a student read a passage of text as clearly and correctly as possible. The teacher records any mistakes that the student makes and analyzes them to determine what instruction is needed. Another example of an assessment of decoding skills is to present a student with isolated words and ask them to read each word aloud (Wren, 2004).

The following list is a sample of assessment measures to test decoding skills:

Fluency: the automatic ability to read words in connected text

The most common example of an assessment for fluency is to ask a student to read a passage aloud for one minute. Words that are skipped or pronounced incorrectly are not counted. The number of correct words read is counted and this total equals a student's oral reading fluency rate.

The following list is a sample of assessment measures to test fluency skills:

Reading comprehension: the process of understanding the meaning of text

There are many types of reading comprehension assessments. One type involves a student reading a passage that is at an appropriate level for the student, and then having the student answer factual questions about the text. A second type involves a student answering inferential questions about implied information in the text. A third type involves a student filling in missing words from a passage. A fourth type is to have a student retell the story in their own words (Fuchs & Fuchs, 1992; Wren 2004).

The following list is a sample of assessment measures to test reading comprehension skills:

Hearing impaired children, who are less proficient than their peers in terms of language because of this impairment, follow the same reading processes and use the same reading skills and strategies. In order to improve and evaluate these skills in reading instruction of hearing impaired children, cloze method is used.

While determining and improving skills used in reading comprehension, both formal and informal evaluation methods are used. Standardized dependent tests are classified as formal reading evaluation method. On the other hand, informal evaluation methods involve question-and-answer, reading aloud, retelling, and cloze (McKenna & Stahl, 2003). Informal reading evaluation methods are used in special education by instructors to assess reading comprehension of hearing impaired children, and to improve hearing impaired children’s reading skills and strategies (Lasasso, 1980). Studies suggest that hearing impaired children experience important problems during reading in terms of word recognition, comprehension and syntax. However, their reading levels can improve as long as they are diagnosed early, given proper hearing device, and exposed to systematic evaluation in appropriate instructional context through focusing on speech and language development (Geers & Moog, 1991; Girgin, 1999; 2006; Lewis, 1986; Robertson & Flexer, 1993; Simpson, Harrison & Stuart, 1992; Tüfekçioğlu, 1992). Thus, systematic evaluation carries utmost importance.

Definition of Cloze and Its Purpose

Cloze procedure involves systematically and purposefully omitting words within a text selected for developing and evaluating reading comprehension, and asking readers to fill-in-the blanks. Its purposes could be listed as follows (Gillet & Temple, 1990; Walker, 2005):

1. Determining children’s knowledge regarding reading,

2. Determine the level of a specific text and clarify its independence, instruction and frustration level (placement focus),

3. Evaluate children’s critical reading strategies along with their ability to use context (diagnosis focus), and encourage children to think critically and analytically about the text,

4. Encourage children to control the meaning of what they read, and

5. Evaluate children’s lexicon and subject-matter knowledge.

Application of Cloze Procedure

Cloze procedure with hearing and hearing impaired children can be applied within a group or individually with each child. The followings should be given importance while applying the activity (LaSasso, 1980; McKenna & Stahl, 2003; Walker, 2005).

1. Children are provided with instructions along with examples on how to fill in the blanks given in a text. The sentence is read with children and the ways to use contextual clues are discussed. These procedures carry utmost importance, since even good readers may have trouble in filling in the blanks just because they are not familiar with the procedures.

2. Children are asked to find the word that could be used by the author, and write a single word in each blank.

3. Children are told that they might not find the exact word used by the author. It is mentioned that the activity is just like a guessing game rather than an exam. It is also emphasized that even very proficient readers might not guess all words correctly. If such explanations are not made, children’s frustration might increase.

4. In order for children to employ meaning of the text, they are asked read the whole passage and they are encouraged to fill in all blanks within the text.

5. No time restriction is applied.


1. Preparation, application, grading, and interpretations of the grades are easy and fast. After instructing children on how to use the activity, it can be applied in groups as well.

2. There remains no need to prepare questions to assess reading comprehension.

3. Issues that influence the readability of a text such as content, writing style and syntactic complexity can be taken into consideration while selecting texts.

4. As a result of analyzing words written into the blanks, information on syntax and meaning clues employed by children during reading can be obtained


1. The format is not familiar to some children which could surprise them.

2. It might prevent children with weak spelling skills from demonstrating what they understand from the passage. Thus, it is suggested that the procedure not used for children below the 4th grade.

3. The selected passage should be read beforehand.

4. The procedure should be used together with other informal reading comprehension evaluation methods



2.3. Approaches and Strategies to develop reading skills and independent reading

According to Giggs (2000), there are four main methods of learning to read. The methods include phonic, syllabic, and eclectic and look and say methods. Phonic method is the best known and widely used method. It relies on children learning together the alphabet first. They learn the names of letters and the sounds they make. After which they begin to blend the two letters together to make simple words. Each word must be sounded out by the child in order to make meaning out of it by matching the sound with image for which the sound represents. Look and say method is another method where the child or learner is expected to look at the written word and say it. It sometimes entails saying a word without necessarily comprehending the meaning. For learners with hearing impairments, this method is all about look and sign. Unfortunately some words may not elicit a sign spontaneously making it very challenging for the learners to read for comprehension. Syllabic method is a method where the use of consonant and vowel sounds are blended together to produce a syllable or phoneme. The syllables or phonemes form words, sentences and stories. Eclectic method of reading combines all the methods of reading which include phonic, syllabic and look and say.

The child with hearing impairments is at a disadvantage when expected to use the above methods of reading. Phonic method involves the use of sound through auditory process which for them is impaired. Syllabic method as well involves sounding of syllables which the deaf cannot do since many of them do not have speech. Look and say or sign is a better method but still poses a challenge because not all the words have their corresponding signs. Furthermore, they may provide just the sign without comprehending the meaning of the word.

Identifying the most effective way of approaching reading by young children has been the subject of fierce debate for a long time. There are a number of reading approaches that are commonly used. According to McCarthy (2015), some of the reading approaches mostly used by learners are phonics – based approach, whole –language approach and a balanced approach.

The phonics – based approach tries to create an association in the child’s mind between the graphemes (written symbols) and phonemes (sounds) of language(Carnine,SilbertKame’enui &Tarver, 2004). Through the use of repetitious exercises to drill this link between text and sound, a learner is expected to build a familiarity and comfort with the basic building blocks of written texts. Once the child has achieved this profiency, he/she is then encouraged to blend the individual written elements together to produce whole words. Learners with profound hearing losses however do not benefit much from phonic reading approach since the approach emphasizes on use of sound since they do not perceive of stimuli presented in sound form.

Whole – language reading approach focuses on comprehension from the outset with learners being given continuous texts to read in order to build an understanding of vocabulary and meaning. These texts are short, often with words being repeated to help develop familiarity with certain key terms and concepts ( Bomenge, 2010). Whole language approach is based on the learner’s rich vocabulary foundation which unfortunately is a big challenge to learners with hearing impairments whose main challenge limited vocabulary and ability to make meaning of read texts.

Phonics and whole-word methods have different prerequisite skills.

There are two direct approaches for teaching word identification skills. These approaches are:

1.     Phonics

2.     Whole-word

Preresiuqisite skills for reading instruction, phonics methods are phonemic awareness and visual discrimination. Phonemic awareness includes blessing onset-rime, blending phonemes, removing a phoneme, and segmenting words into phonemes. Visual discrimination includes matching objects, photos, pictures, letters, and words. Whole word method pre-requisite skills include visual discrimination

(National Reading Panel, 2000; Partington, 2010)


Multisensory approach is an approach that engages more than one sense at a time McCarthy, 2015). For children with reading issues like dyslexia, the use of sight, hearing, movement and touch can be helpful for learning. The principle of combining movement with speech and reading is applied at other levels of language learning as well. Learners may learn hand gestures to help them memorize the definition of a noun. Learners may manipulate word cards to create sentences or classify the words in sentences by physically moving them into categories. According to Sibert et .al (2004), most teaching curriculums only cater to the auditory – visual learner. However for some students it is not natural for them to learn, this way they need to move more or learn through tactile projects. These same students that struggle so much to read, write, learn and understand have so many gifts they don’t see. Multi sensory approach to reading hence is the most preferable approach to learners with hearing impairments as it provides them with an opportunity to use other senses since their auditory channel is impaired.

It's very important to point out that there are many strategies in reading such as skimming, scanning, and reading for details. Pugh (1978) and Lunzer and Gardner (1979) as cited in Hedge (2000) described various strategies of reading.

Receptive Reading: It’s reading a story or a newspaper article for joy and fun.

Reflective Reading: It’s reading a text and then, rereading by backtracking for checking.

Skimming: It’s the strategy in which the learner is being exposed to a reading material that he/she is not sure or certain what it is about. Here, the learner looks for key details only.

Scanning: It's the strategy in which the learner is being exposed to a material that he/she has some information about it. Here, the learner looks for certain information.

Reading for details( intensive reading): The learners read carefully to find out exact information.

Strategies and Techniques for Developing Reading skills

Hand cues are mostly used by teachers to alert children with hearing loss to the fact that someone is talking to them, and that they need to pay attention and listen. Teachers use hand cues to slightly cover the mouth, but take care that acoustic information is not adversely affected by the hand cues. Hand cues are also used to prompt the child to respond, either through imitation or spontaneous speech.

Acoustic highlighting is the speech used when talking with young children with hearing loss to make the speech more audible. This helps them in learning language and contextually understand the language. Teachers highlight the sounds in a word or words in a sentence, and while doing so change the rhythm; stress certain components in a sentence i.e. the supra segmental aspects in a spoken language.

Modelling imitation is a technique that could be used for speech or language teaching to children with hearing loss. For those children who do not utter or sign a grammatically correct sentence, the teacher can model the sentence in whole or in parts. Peers could also participate.

Auditory feedback is used to encourage children to imitate or use spontaneous speech by matching their voice production with the speech patterns of others thus monitoring their own speech production. Besides this direct auditory feedback, children receive indirect feedback from the listener’s reactions to their vocalisations and speech, which further reinforces the quality of their production.

Pausing and waiting: Children with hearing impairment may take longer to process auditory information, so the technique of pausing and waiting with anticipation encourages a child to listen and follow through with a task rather than waiting for the speaker to repeat. To emphasise listening, pause and then ask, “What did you hear?”

Auditory, Visual, Kinesthetic (AVK): Auditory path is considered to be best for learning to learn new words and phonics. So speech/language is first presented through hearing, then visually and finally, kinesthetically (in tactile mode). This sequence is called AVK.

Auditory training

Voice inflection: The teacher can cover her lips and say a sentence and ask the child with hearing impairment to guess whether what she said was a statement, command, request or question.

Discrimination of environmental sounds: The teacher can play audio sound and ask the child to guess: Is the sound that of breaking a jar or crashing cups, saucers, plates, bowls? Is the sound a soft buzz of a fly or a loud buzz or even a louder buzz?

Speech teaching: Read with proper intonation i.e. pause, rhythm, stress and inflections. May require modelling imitation of high frequency sounds like /sh/ in shoo.

Creative writing: Write a letter to the Mayor or write an essay on ‘If I was a fly’.


2.4. Types and Models of developing reading skills


The question of how teachers should teach reading may be one of the most important topics in the field of education. If teachers want their students to learn to read well, they should find a way to encourage them to read for knowledge and pleasure simultaneously.

Reading models are a tool used to instruct reading. Reading is a fundamental value in education for life skills including pleasure, career, and education. What makes this a universal skill is that aspects of reading are embedded in daily life where written communication is a constant. Reading is a complex skill that involves a process that often includes aspects such as word identification, syntax, and comprehension.

There are three reading models used in the instruction of literacy. They are:

Top-down model: This model, which is also called inside-out model and whole to part model, involves the reader’s experience and what he/she brings to the reading material. Browne (1998) clarified that, ‘this model suggests that readers begin to read by drawing on what they know about the structure and the meaningfulness of language, the structure of stories and other genres and their knowledge of the world to predict the general meaning and specific words in context.’ This model is broader and more realistic. It should be pointed out here that whenever the experience of the students is being involved, the more effective the teaching will be. Moreover, this model encourages guessing. However, one of its disadvantages is that cross-cultural identifications might play a major role in recognizing such texts. For instance, some cultures might lack information about certain topics and readers could face great difficulties in recognizing what the topic is about.

This framework includes four components, listed and explained below.

1) Concepts and functions of literacy include knowledge of terms that are used to talk about reading. Here understanding the functions of print, knowing how the act of reading is carried out (i.e. knowing where to begin, and how to continue reading by turning pages), how to separate speech into words, syllables, and letters become the foundations of literacy. Then, being able to track a line of print and one’s self-perceptions about reading are important components of becoming a reader. Finally, context-sensitive strategies for word reading and knowledge of environment print in familiar contexts allow the child to become literate. These functions are top-down and provide the big picture about reading.

2) Knowledge of letters and words functions as the bottom-up support for becoming literate. This knowledge includes letter knowledge, phonological awareness of beginning and ending sounds in words, grapheme- phoneme correspondence knowledge, and word recognition of common words and words containing generalizable patterns.

3) Listening comprehension and word understanding again brings in whole-to-part strategies and includes complete or partial retelling of stories, defining, classifying, drawing analogies to words, and developing multiple strategies for reading texts.

4) Writing and composing moves into the written forms of literacy, focusing on word writing, sentence dictation, and story composition.

Here even though word identification and word decoding are important, the point being made is that early reading is more comprehensive than phonological awareness and vocabulary. By extension to hearing impaired children, early reading does not start at the one sign to one word mapping event, but can be initiated when a whole story or passage is presented in easy-to-read books with pictures, through signing conversations children have with adults, or with short passages of texts.


Bottom-up model: According to Browne (1998), this model describes reading as a process that starts with the learner’s knowledge of letters, sounds and words and how these words are formed to make sentences. This model is called part to whole model because it goes from partial to whole knowledge. This model is so effective in the early childhood, especially students as young learners. It’s effective because the emphasis here is on the letters, recognition of their shapes and reading individual words. However, this model has many disadvantages if used for higher levels since it forgets the reader’s expectations, experience, and attitudes. Furthermore, it doesn’t pay attention to the context since it only encourages remembering.

Interactive model: This is the most widely used approach in modern teaching of reading. Stanovich (1980) argued that this model gathers the features of the bottom-up and the top-down models and gives reading more meaning. Here, the readers are more involved in reading. They use their knowledge of subject theme, their pre-experience of written words, their reading and their own expectations to make predictions about the reading text. So, the textual details are the best way in the recognition of the words and the letters the text contains. The most important advantage of this model is that the communicative activities and the reading skills are integrated. In my opinion, if we were allowed to do so in Palestine, we would adopt this model, simply because it is more realistic and enjoyable to all kinds of students. Moreover, whenever the students’ experience is involved, the more interesting, thrilling and lovely the reading will be.

Emergent Reading Models

There are many theories that have emerged regarding the acquisition of reading skills. These theories are models that stem from the broad termed, interactive model.

1.     Rumelhart model: In this model, a visual information store takes graphic information and synthesizes it with cognitive understanding to produce meaning. Success in reading comes from a combination of sensory (graphic) and non-sensory (cognitive) information to determine the meaning of language.

2.     Stanovich model: Rather than seeing flaws in the top-down and bottom-up models, Stanovich combines both models simultaneously. Instead of seeing them as separate practices, the idea is that one can draw upon them in parallel or alternatively depending upon the reading material at hand.

3.     Schema-theoretic model: In 1984, Anderson and Pearson developed the Schema-theoretic to explain how one uses previously stored information to integrate new information. In that way, one can use what they know to draw new inferences and conclusions based on what they have already learned.

4.     R/W model: The relationship between the reader and the writer is critically important in the R/W model. Here, the reader is to assume the role of the writer in order to understand the context and perspective of the author.

5.     Mathewson's model: In Mathewson's model for reading, the success of the individual is dependent on the attitude toward the reading. One's reading behavior and outcomes stem from the individual's initial attitude. In this case, outcomes can be altered by changing elements such as higher interest in reading pieces of positive reinforcement from the literature. This reinforcement might come from experiencing certain emotional reactions from the characters or plot.

Three-Stage Descriptive Model

Hoffmeister and Caldwell-Harris (2014) propose another model grounded in visual language and visual learning. In their model, hearing impaired children can become skilled readers, through reading and writing of English print. They state that the phonology of English is not necessary. The authors emphasize that is it not deafness per se that causes reading difficulties, but a lack of full access to a visual language. This lack of access to visual language causes the inherent difficulties hearing impaired children have in acquiring language when they cannot practice it outside of the school activities of reading and writing. In this model, there are three stages of learning that represent successive, conceptual insights for hearing impaired children learning their second language (English) through print. In the first stage of learning to read, hearing impaired children learn how to map translations of familiar signs and sign phrases to print at the word and phrase level. In stage 2, the children progress to mapping signs to words and sentences, including idioms, metaphors, and multiple meanings. Then in stage 3, children use their bilingualism to learn additional English, through print in a bilingual, interactive learning mode. In this way, a strong foundation in sign language is used as the bridge to becoming bilingual in both sign and a later developed spoken language.

The Five-Component Model

Another model is based on visual language and visual learning; the theoretical underpinning is based on the literature about multiliteracies and the sociocultural view of literacy ( Kuntze, Golos, & Enns, 2014 ). This model is an alternative pathway, as reading comprehension is not only based on language acquisition and emergent literacy skills, but also learning a new language (ASL) as part of this process. This early reading model includes five components: ASL acquisition and visual engagement, emergent literacy, social mediation with English print, literacy and Deaf culture, and finally multimedia activities. It also includes the use of indigenous practices by deaf parents within their signing families; these interactions socialize deaf children into becoming readers ( Kuntze et al., 2014 ). Their model suggests that the signing deaf children acquire reading through the visual modality, without access to spoken language, and that reading instruction should reflect these visual ways of learning.

ASL Sign Writing

The last model that uses visual language is one that develops reading instruction by having hearing impaired children learn to read ASL graphemes and ASL glosses. Glossing is a written notation system devised to represent ASL ( Supalla & Cripps, 2011 ). In the first stages children learn to match pictures of objects with pictures of manual signs. Then children are taught a new writing system, which uses graphemes that represent the visual phonology of signs, including their hand shape, movement and location. In the third stage, children are taught to read English glosses for ASL signs, which is called ASL glossing. Supalla and colleagues use ASL gloss as an intermediary writing system, which links the child’s ASL to English print. There is an ASL Resource book, with gloss text written in what the authors call the ASL-phablet. The ASL graphemes are written in a linear string to create sign equivalents of English words ( Supalla et al., 2001 ; Supalla & Cripps, 2011 ).


2.5. Challenges and Remedial strategies


The biggest educational obstacles for students with hearing impairments stem around communication. The hurdles commonly arise in oral mediums in speech, lip reading and use of residual hearing and manual mediums like sign language. These communication forms are altered due to the inability to register information conveyed.

The following may be difficult for a student with a hearing impairment:

The degree to which a child is affected by hearing impairment or loss can vary greatly. A child with profound hearing loss may be “deaf.” Hearing loss can be recognized at birth or caused by injuries, infections, or exposure to loud noise for a prolonged period. Teachers can identify early signs of hearing impairment through children’s behaviour, learning challenges, and performance in the classroom.

Undiagnosed Problems

Unfortunately, many school-aged children have undiagnosed hearing problems while they are learning to read. Children who have undiagnosed hearing problems have a good chance of becoming struggling readers. They develop vocabulary more slowly and struggle with sentence structure. These are two critical components of reading. There are standard signs of hearing issues that include:

Hearing plays a critical role in speech, language development, communication, and learning. Academic delays caused by a hearing loss often lead to learning problems. According to recent information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 1.3 of 1000 8-year-olds have bilateral hearing loss of 40 decibels (dB) or more which profoundly affects their ability to learn. Numerous studies show early intervention as being the key to increase academic performance in healthy and hearing-impaired children. New research agrees with the idea of early intervention and suggests that children with reading difficulties need a thorough screening for possible hearing problems.

Useful communication skills to teach the hearing impaired

In some classrooms, hearing impaired learners are also immigrants or refugees. Their reason for learning an additional language is to survive in an English-speaking country. Teachers should focus on survival skills that are needed most, including some of the following.


Setting up an appropriate learning environment

Hearing impaired students require preferential seating as well as other accommodations. Here are some ideas for creating an ideal learning environment.


Parental Support

Here are a few tips for parents when reading to children with a hearing loss:

The process of learning to read is challenging for all children but is especially daunting for the child with a hearing problem.

There is a range of inclusive teaching strategies that can assist all students to learn but there are some specific strategies that are useful in teaching a group which includes students with hearing impairment. Encourage students with hearing impairment to seat themselves toward the front of the lecture theatre where they will have an unobstructed line of vision. This is particularly important if the student is using an interpreter, lip-reading, relying on visual clues or using a hearing aid which has a limited range. Hearing aids may include transmitter/receiver systems with a clip-on microphone for the lecturer. If using such a microphone it is not necessary to change your speaking or teaching style. Teachers may need to repeat clearly any questions asked by students in the lecture or class before giving a response.