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Unlocking the Foundations of Reading for Learners Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing


About the series

Staying up to date on reading research while meeting and assessing the literacy needs of learners who are deaf or hard of hearing can be a juggling act. This module series is designed to provide educators and practitioners with what they need to implement best practices and provide access to reading instruction for each deaf or hard of hearing learner they serve.

This module is brought to you by The Outreach Center for Deafness and Blindness in partnership with The Teaching Diverse Learners Center at OCALI and The American Printing House for the Blind (APH). If you are providing instruction to learners who are blind/visually impaired, you can find the parallel set of modules in the APH Hive that will allow you to explore the process of teaching reading, examine how to strengthen reading skills for all students, and evaluate the impact of visual impairments on learning to read. Both sets of modules have embedded information from the Teaching Diverse Learners Center’s Ensuring Access to the General Curriculum for ALL Learners video series which explores strategies grounded in research in a 10-part resource designed to support all educators.


Available Modules

Module 1: Setting the Stage

Participants will:

  • Define presumed competence and identify how it is presented in conversations about learners
  • Explain three learner profiles of deaf and hard of hearing students
  • Describe the layers of instructional planning
  • Name the key components to comprehensive and equitable literacy instruction

Module 2: Essential Components of Reading

Participants will:

  • Identify the Big 5+ ideas outlined in reading research that are critical components for literacy instruction for all learners
  • Describe the skillsets of ‘word recognition’ and ‘language comprehension’ and give one reason why mastery in each is needed to achieve reading comprehension
  • Give two examples of how learners who are deaf or hard of hearing may have access to and utilize phonological skills

Module 3: Special Considerations for Reading Achievement

Participants will:

  • Identify three factors that can impact literacy achievement for learners who are deaf or hard of hearing
  • Explain the long-term impact of language deprivation on literacy development
  • Name two ways in which educators can intervene and decrease the lasting impacts of barriers faced by DHH readers

Module 4: Developing Skilled Readers

Participants will:

  • Describe the Simple View of Reading and the National Reading Panel’s Big 5 and how they apply to reading instruction for Deaf/Hard of Hearing learners
  • Explain two strategies that support explicit language instruction in content-area instruction
  • Describe how deaf/hard of hearing students can access word recognition skills through fingerspelling
  • Describe how deaf/hard of hearing students can access word recognition skills through visual phonics
  • Describe how deaf/hard of hearing students can access word recognition skills through cued speech/cued language

Modules Coming Soon

  • Module 5: How Integrated Services Can Support Reading Achievement
  • Module 6: Assessment
  • Module 7: Application

Taking a Deeper Dive

The general education curriculum often consists of courses, lessons, and planned learning activities that are intentionally taught. But, what about the informal and unspoken messages and strategies that are communicated and used in the classroom? These are not part of the formal curriculum, but contribute to student growth, engagement, inclusion, and more. Visit www.literacyaccessforall.org for a FREE, 10-part video series that explores strategies grounded in research that are designed to ensure ALL learners have access to the general curriculum.


To learn more about this topic, and earn professional development credit, log in to your free OCALI ID account and watch Unlocking the Foundations of Reading for Learners Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing!