Paths to Literacy

for students who are blind or visually impaired

Reading Comprehension of Deaf Children with Cochlear Implants

Cover of Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education

This article from Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education (May 30, 2007) examines compares the reading comprehension of deaf children with cochlear implants and deaf children without cochlear implants.  This Dutch team of researchers found that at all grade levels the students with cochlear implants (CIs) obtained higher mean reading comprehension scores than the deaf children without CIs.

Abstract:  The reading comprehension and visual word recognition in 50 deaf children and adolescents with at least 3 years of cochlear implant (CI) use were evaluated. Their skills were contrasted with reference data of 500 deaf children without CIs. The reading comprehension level in children with CIs was expected to surpass that in deaf children without implants, partly via improved visual word recognition. Reading comprehension scores of children with implants were significantly better than those of deaf children without implants, although the performance in implant users was substantially lagging behind that in hearing children. Visual word recognition was better in children with CIs than in children without implants, in secondary education only. No difference in visual word recognition was found between the children with CIs and the hearing children, whereas the deaf children without implants showed a slightly poorer performance. The difference in reading comprehension performance of the deaf children with and without CIs remained present when visual word recognition was controlled for. This indicates that other reading-related skills were also contributing to the improved reading comprehension skills of deaf children with CIs.

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