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Phonological Awareness Using Fingerspelling Fact Sheet

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​The development of vocabulary and decoding skills is a major barrier to literacy for many children who are deaf or hard of hearing.  However, recent research conducted by Professor Brenda Schick of the Institute of Cognitive Science, University of Colorado Boulder, indicates that although children who are deaf or hard of hearing may have limited access to spoken language, a strong relationship exists between finger-spelling skills and word identification of printed English words.  VDEI’s professional learning workshop with Professor Schick earlier in 2017, presented the insightful results of a year-long study indicating significant growth for students in word recognition, through the use of fingerspelling.

Results of the implementation of the program to date show:

  • A functional relationship between the instruction and acquisition of finger-spelled word families.
  • Young children who are deaf or hard of hearing can benefit from finger-spelling instruction that highlights rhyme and alliteration. 
  • Pre and post-test assessments indicated children also increased their phonological awareness of finger-spelling and generalised the knowledge to print vocabulary. 

A summary fact sheet of Brenda Schick’s ‘Phonological Awareness Using Fingerspelling’ workshop series that took place earlier this year, is now available by following this link:  Fact Sheets

VDEI is looking forward to further collaboration with Professor Schick in 2018.