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Investigating pre-literacy skills and the home literacy environment in deaf and hard of hearing children


1st supervisor: Dr Fiona Kyle

2nd supervisors: Dr Ros Herman

Research centres

Language and Communication Science

Project description

Learning to read is challenging for most deaf children due to impoverished auditory access which has consequences for spoken language acquisition. As a result, many are significantly delayed in their reading ability.  Our previous research has shown that vocabulary and phonological skills are strong predictors of reading outcomes in school-age deaf children, but less is known about early markers of later literacy difficulties.  Because of the typical severity of later reading delays, it is important to identity which deaf children are likely to have reading difficulties BEFORE they start learning to read.  Early identification will help ensure they have appropriate support before beginning to read.

The proposed PhD: The aim of this project will be to explore pre-literacy skills and the home literacy environment in preschool deaf and hard of hearing children. Participating children will take part in a longitudinal study in which they will complete brief and child-friendly assessments of pre-reading skills including language, phonology and morphosyntax. Parents will be asked to complete a questionnaire about the home literacy environment.  This project has the potential to determine the role of early language skills and the home literacy environment in deaf children’s beginning reading development. The student will join our existing research team looking at literacy acquisition and development in in deaf and hearing children. S/he will be able to recruit participants by utilising our existing partnership with a national UK charity providing on-site and outreach support and pre-school education for large numbers of deaf children and their families.

Potential for a field of strong candidates:This proposal will be of interest to those wishing to undertake a PhD in the field of speech and language, literacy development or deafness.

If you would like to have an informal discussion please contact Fiona.Kyle.1@city.ac.uk.