Emergent Literacy Development: Case Studies of Four Deaf ASL-English Bilinguals
AdvisorGoodman, Yetta M.
Committee ChairGoodman, Yetta M.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe research is clear; given the opportunity to do so, children begin transacting with print at very young ages (Ferreiro & Teberosky, 1982). Deaf children with full access to language from birth frequently experience higher success rates in literacy acquisition (Kuntze, 1998). However, there remains a paucity of studies on how young Deaf children whose success with literacy development can be reasonably predicted, begin their journeys toward literacy. With the understanding that early literacy experiences significantly impact all children's literacy development (Bus, Van Ijzendoorn, & Pelligrini, 1995), it is important to have a clearer understanding of how Deaf children develop emergent literacy skills.This dissertation presents a year-long case study on four young Deaf children from native-ASL families who were immersed in literacy-rich environments and how they developed literacy skills in school and at home. In order to provide the fullest possible picture, parents, teachers and children were interviewed and observed. As literacy development does not happen in isolation; this dissertation provides information about the children's sociocultural context that included the literacy experiences and beliefs of the adult participants and the children's own experiences at home and in school. Artifacts including writing samples and data from an early literacy checklist were also collected to provide information about each child's individual written language development.The data were organized and analyzed based on salient themes and framed by socio-psycholinguistic studies on hearing children by researchers such as Dyson (1993), Ferreiro & Teberosky (1982), and Goodman (1996). Results show that with full access to language and opportunities to develop reading and writing abilities, Deaf children's emergent literacy development is highly similar to that of monolingual and bilingual hearing children with some characteristics unique to Deaf ASL-English bilinguals. The results of this dissertation study adds to the general body of knowledge of how children develop literacy abilities even when they do not have face-to-face communication in their literate language. The results also inform current practices in Deaf education and provide researchers, educators, and parents with a framework for understanding the critical role that language and communication play on Deaf children's literacy development.
Degree ProgramLanguage, Reading & Culture