Our studies are aimed at identifying the abilities that lead to skilled reading and writing by prelingually, profoundly hearing-impared children and adults. Because most of these deaf individuals attain reading levels far below those of their normally-hearing counterparts, it is the great importance to discover what abilities enable some deaf persons to succeed. The long-term goal of this research is to provide a solid empirical basis for evaluating reading instruction program for deaf students. The proposed research is based on a substantial number of psychological and educational studies indicating that the ability to extract linguistic segments and to hold them efficiently in working memory is crucial for success in reading. The proposed set of experiments will present printed words and text to deaf and hearing subjects, obtaining results that bear on two specific topics. First, the research will examine analytic word reading by deaf children and adults. Is the relationship between written and spoken English sufficiently apprehended by these individuals to allow them to take advantage of the phonological and morphological structure of words in lexical access? Secondly, the research will examine working memory and its relationship to reading comprehension for deaf individuals. How do the persistent difficulties experienced by deaf individuals in using a speech-based working memory code impact specific aspects of reading comprehension?

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Research Project (R01)
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Sensory Disorders and Language Study Section (CMS)
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Haskins Laboratories, Inc.
New Haven
United States
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