Reading intervention in school-aged children with hearing loss.

Dr. Sneha Bharadwaj

Texas Woman's University


The funded project evaluated whether the use of comprehension monitoring strategies lead to improvements in reading comprehension in children with hearing loss.

Study 1: A total of 15 subtests from Woodcock Johnson IV Tests of Cognitive Abilities (WJIV) and Woodcock Reading Mastery Test (WRMT) were administered to assess reading, linguistic and cognitive abilities and to rule out any cognitive delays (see appendix for the list). Only some of the subtests are reported in the figure below. Assessments were carried out for ~2.5 hours over the course of 2-3 sessions. At least 5 out of the 6 children with CI in grades 3-5, who used sign supported speech, demonstrated below average performance in phonological processing, vocabulary, non-word repetition and word / passage comprehension.

All six children participated in an intervention study that was designed to teach comprehension monitoring strategies. Two strategies (Retell and Question) were taught to 6 children with severe-profound hearing loss in a deaf education program at Denton Independent school district during academic time. Five graduate students at TWU were engaged in this research study as part of their practicum experience. The program was implemented over the course of 13 weeks, twice a week for 20 minutes. Thirteen intervention and 13 probe sessions were video recorded. Percent strategy use and types of strategy used were coded from video recordings. A single-subject, multiple baseline design across behaviors and across participants was used to measure the effects of strategy use on reading comprehension. Visual analysis procedure was used to analyze the data.

Overall, the data in this pilot study showed children can be taught to use comprehension monitoring strategies and that use of these strategies might be related to improvements in comprehension. Percent non-overlapping data showed a small effect size suggesting that future studies could (a) increase the number of hours of intervention and (b) incorporate a multicomponent approach to reading intervention.

The main objective was to examine the factors that are shown to predict reading performance of elementary school age children with hearing loss. Several factors including background information, vocabulary, inference making, decoding, comprehension monitoring, short term memory, working memory, expressive and receptive language were examined using a series of 14 subtests from 4 commonly used standardized tests.

Study 2: Sunshine cottage school for the deaf is a day school program for the deaf. It promotes early identification and amplification n oral school that promotes listening and the use of spoken language. Data were collected from 10 children with moderate to moderately-severe hearing loss and 6 children with severe-profound hearing loss who used cochlear implants. Results showed that the 10 children with moderate to moderately severe hearing loss (hearing aid users) performed at or above the average range in all of the parameters that were assessed except for the non-word repetition task which assesses phonological memory. On the other hand, children with severe-profound hearing loss who used cochlear implants for their hearing performed at or above the average range in all of the parameters that were assessed except vocabulary, background knowledge, inference making, non-word repetition and working memory. Overall these results support the findings that the component skills for reading namely background knowledge, inference making, phonological working memory and vocabulary, which are considered as predictors of reading success are below the average range for most children despite getting early access to amplification and being in a spoken and listening environment.