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Phonological, Orthographic, and Syntactic Awareness and their Relation to Reading Comprehension in Prelingually Deaf Individuals: What Can We Learn from Skilled Readers?

  • Paul Miller
Original Article

Abstract

This study seeks to provide new insight into the phonemic, orthographic, and syntactic awareness of individuals with prelingual deafness and the way those contribute to reading. Two tests were used: one designed for the assessment of phonemic/orthographic awareness (PO/OA) and another examining reading comprehension (RC) in contexts where prior knowledge was either helpful or not. Participants were 83 prelingually deaf individuals (DIs): 21 primary school, 36 high school, and 26 university students. The control group consisted of 85 hearing individuals (HIs) from parallel education levels (29 primary school, 29 high school, 27 university). Contrary to predictions made by current reading theories, findings imply that the failure of DIs to develop sensitivity to the phonological properties of words may not underlie their reading difficulties. Rather, this weakness seems to reflect a processing deficit at the supra-lexical (sentence) level where the final meaning of single words is elaborated by its integration based upon syntactic (structural) knowledge.

Keywords

Deafness Reading Phonemic awareness Orthographic awareness Syntactic awareness Reading comprehension 

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EducationUniversity of HaifaHaifaIsrael

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