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Center on Literacy and Deafness has been developing several interventions that will be available to DHH teachers in 2017-18. We want to give you a little information to choose the best intervention for your program.

We have evidence that reading develops through different pathways for DHH children acquiring spoken versus signed language. We therefore have developed two different interventions.

Foundations for Literacy is an early literacy program—focused on the basic preliteracy skills that are developmentally appropriate for preschool and kindergarten children. Targeted learning objectives include letter-sound correspondence, spoken phonological awareness, vocabulary, narrative skills and reading of decodable words and short connected text. Because the curriculum is organized around access to sound, Foundations for Literacy is not designed for children who communicate solely in ASL and learn English primarily through print. Weekly lessons are organized on learning the sounds of English and then associating those sounds with letters. The children also are taught to decode letters in printed words into spoken phonemes and to blend letters into spoken and/or signed words. Teachers use short stories, language experiences, and storybook reading to teach vocabulary and narratives. Teachers have successfully implemented Foundations in both Listening and Spoken Language and in Total Communication programs (those that use both speech and sign to communicate with their students).

Fingerspelling Our Way to Reading is specifically designed for DHH children in kindergarten through second grade attending bilingual ASL-English programs. CLAD has evidence that DHH children who do not access spoken English may learn to read through an alternative pathway—namely through fingerspelling and explicit bilingual instruction. That is why CLAD team members have developed Fingerspelling Our Way to Reading. Targeted learning objectives include fingerspelling phonological awareness, word reading, reading comprehension, reading fluency, and vocabulary. Weekly lessons are organized around fingerspelling word families. Children are given extensive practice fingerspelling and reading words. Vocabulary, conceptual understanding, and reading comprehension is built through the use of ASL stories and reading original storybooks. Our research with this intervention is ongoing—but the results are promising. Fingerspelling Our Way to Reading will be ready for dissemination to schools and teachers who are not in our intervention during the summer of 2018.

Vocabulary 4 Success (V4S) is an approach to content area vocabulary instruction for use with young Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) students. The explicit and in-context instructional strategies are designed to teach students new vocabulary and give them practice in expressing target words in connected language. CLAD data show that V4S can be successfully used with children who use listening and spoken language, total communication, or ASL. The V4S manual and sample instructional units are currently available.

Thank you for your interest!

The CLAD leadership team

Amy Lederberg
Susan Easterbrooks
Brenda Schick
Shirin Antia