Understanding Deaf Readers

Aaron Klstone

Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works in December 2013.


The development of reading skills, beyond a functional level, is difficult for most deaf readers. Standardized testing demonstrates a median 4th grade reading level that remains consistent even after national norming of the Stanford Achievement test on the population of deaf school children. Deaf education continues to generate various educational interventions, yet few interventions lead to classroom implementation of effective-based practices. Research associated with successful deaf readers who read at levels equal to or better than the average 12th grade hearing reader is less prevalent. Subsequently, effective identification of how these deaf readers successfully comprehend text is not well understood. Understanding how successful deaf readers develop their reading comprehension strategies may prove beneficial to educators and deaf readers. The primary research question asks, “What experiences contribute to the development of successful deaf readers?” Two secondary questions support the exploration of this topic by asking: “In what ways do these experiences support their reading process?” and “Can an understanding of these experiences contribute to future research efforts to develop positive reading outcomes for deaf readers?” Integration of an interpretative phenomenological analysis and self-determination theory will support the analysis and potential identification of those particular experiential, social, and educational events that contribute to the development of successful deaf readers.