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Ohio has a strong focus on literacy for every learner. What we know about literacy is that phonological awareness is a critical component of learning to read. Phonological awareness is often associated solely with auditory access but there are many ways to access phonological awareness. This module reviews the major components of reading and provides strategies to support phonological awareness for learners who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Estimated Time to Complete: 1 hour

Learning Objectives:

  • Describe how all learners are part of Ohio’s Plan to Raise Literacy Achievement
  • Describe best practice strategies around language and literacy for learners who are deaf/hard of hearing.
  • Identify resources around language and literacy for learners who are deaf/hard of hearing.


  • Abbey Weaver, Itinerant Teacher for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Southern Ohio Educational Service Center/Hopewell Center Region 14 . Abbey Weaver began working with Southern Ohio Educational Service Center/Hopewell Center Region 14 in 2003 as an itinerant teacher for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. She is also the Team Leader for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing department. She supervises itinerant teachers, educational interpreters, language facilitators, and an audiologist. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Deaf Education from Kent State University. In addition, she has a master’s degree in reading from Xavier University. She works with a variety of individuals in various schools located in Adams, Brown, Clinton, Fayette, and Highland Counties. 
  • Jennifer Govender, M.Ed, AEM Specialist, AT&AEM Center at OCALI. Jennifer is a highly adaptable and a versatile educator. Over her 13 years of experience as an Early Intervention Specialist, Assistive Technology Specialist and a Teacher for Students with Visual Impairments, she has had the opportunity to work in-depth with diverse groups of students. These experiences have aided her development in becoming a well-rounded and compassionate individual, who takes each student’s unique goals, needs, and interests into account to allow them to be successful in the school setting.
  • Shawna Benson, M.Ed., Progam Director, Teaching Diverse Learners Center at OCALI. Shawna has been an employee at OCALI since August 2008. She was the recipient of the Kathe Shelby Leadership Award in 2014. Benson has two degrees from Ashland University, a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education grades 1-8 and a Masters in the Education of the Handicapped (K-12). From 2004-2014 she worked as an Associate Professor at Urbana University. Benson’s teaching experience includes courses such as Educational Technologies, Curriculum, Materials and Strategies for the Intervention Specialist, Diagnostic Reading and Remediation, Role of the Intervention Specialist and Classroom Management. She has also worked as the Director of assessment and the Director of Disability Services at the same institution. Previously, she was employed through Knox County Educational Service Center and State Support Team Region 7 as the Assistive Technology, Autism and Low Incidence Consultant. Prior to consulting she taught students with and without disabilities in ages ranging from infancy thru age 21. She has experience co-teaching in inclusive settings and providing intervention to students with a range of exceptionalities ages, needs, and interventions, which has provided her with a wealth of information that she now applies to her current work.
  • Christine Croyle, Ed.D., Program Director, Outreach Center for Deafness and Blindness at OCALI. Dr. Croyle provides leadership to that team as they work to build capacity at the local level for learners who are deaf/hard of hearing or blind/visually impaired. Christine has served as a school administrator for Pickaway County Board of Developmental Disabilities and as a speech language pathologist at The Ohio State School for the Blind (OSSB). She has presented at state, national, and international conferences on topics including leading inclusive models of education, instructional strategies, and designing spaces with accessibility in mind. 

Various organizations have approved modules and webinars in the Learning Hub for continuing education credit.

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