The Impact of New Technologies on the Literacy Attainment of Deaf Children

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To become successful readers, hearing children require competence in both decoding—the ability to read individual words, underpinned by phonological skills and letter–sound knowledge—and linguistic comprehension—the ability to understand what they read—underpinned by language skills, including vocabulary knowledge. Children who are born with a severe–profound hearing loss, or who acquire such a loss in the first months of life, need to develop the same core skills in decoding and linguistic comprehension although they may develop these skills in a somewhat different manner from hearing peers. This review considers the impact on literacy of universal newborn hearing screening and of improvements in the technologies that give access to sound, including the provision of cochlear implants. The review shows that these new technologies have brought some notable improvements, especially in the early years at school, but that many children with severe–profound hearing loss still find reading a challenge and can benefit from continued support for literacy throughout their years at school.

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