SASL Journal Vol. 1, No. 1 - Page 48

Reading Methodology for Deaf Children Supalla study were instructed to go through a list of English words and respond to each word by pointing to the correct picture out of four in a booklet. The children were provided with the Resource Book or RB to help with their English word identification. They were instructed to use the RB at all times regardless of whether they knew the English word or not. It is important to keep in mind that the two deaf children who participated in the study differed in age and schooling experience. The first child was Lucy (pseudonym) who was 6:11 years old, and the second child was Barb (again a pseudonym) who was 9:11 years old. Lucy enrolled at the Arizona charter school at the age of 4 and had been taught at this school for three years. Barb was with the charter school for two years. Prior to transferring to the charter school, she was in a traditional school for the deaf (where the glossing approach of reading instruction was not implemented). According to Cripps and S. Supalla, Lucy “began the test at the 10th vocabulary item, reading...[s]he reached the ceiling at the 49th vocabulary item, coin” (p. 105). What is important for this paper is that the majority of English words were identified successfully: “Lucy looked up a total of 38 words using [the RB]. She produced 30 correct answers out of the 38 vocabulary items (or 72%). She could not identify 8 English words after reading the ASL equivalents in [the RB]” (p. 105). Barb began the test at the 30th vocabulary item, whale. She reached the ceiling at the 90th vocabulary item, triplet. As with Lucy, Barb identified a majority of the English words in the test successfully. This child did not use the RB consistently, however. The following discussion of her performance will clarify the differences: Barb looked up a total of 51 words using [the RB] out of 59 vocabulary items (or 86%). With the 51 words, she produced 32 correct answers (or 62%). She could not identify 19 English words after reading the ASL equivalent[s] in [the RB]. (p. 105) Barb’s level of English word identification performance is lower in comparison to Lucy’s (62% vs. 72%). Given that Barb is older, she should have performed better than Lucy. The fact that Barb transferred to the charter school and had a shorter time of exposure to its aligned curriculum and instruction appears to be a factor. Cripps and S. Supalla’s study includes the finding that both Barb and Lucy outperformed what was normed for deaf children. With the deaf normative study done by Bunch and Forde (1987), the Peabody Vocabulary Test-Revised was subject to the same modification (i.e., the target words converted from spoken to print), without the RB in use. In comparison to the normed scores for the different ages of deaf children, Barb and Lucy, who had access to the RB, did far better in the identification of English words. This can be attributed to their making associations with ASL. In S. Supalla et al. (2017), the focus is on reading at the sentence level. One 9-year-old child participated in the study, and she read aloud a gloss passage (in ASL), which was reproduced in the paper. Specifically, running records were utilized with the child reading the gloss passage matching her age. A word count formula was created for ASL to help with effective computation (being sensitive not just to counting signs in a given sentence, but for other features such as facial syntactic markers and classifier constructions). The child’s oral reading performance was found to be at the instructional level. The age-appropriate gloss text was not too difficult or too easy. The child was capable of reading, but not yet an independent or fluent SASLJ, Vol. 1, No. 1 – Fall/Winter 2017 48