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The reading experience through deaf eyes : a case study of signing deaf high school students Chow, Denise Lynn

Abstract

A qualitative case study explored the reading experiences of two Deaf high school students from a sociocultural perspective that recognizes Deaf readers as part of a language and cultural minority. Consistent with a sociocultural perspective, these case studies described the participants' cultural, language and school background followed by details about their reading experiences in the context of a School for the Deaf, the Deaf culture and community as well as their home and larger community. Volunteer participants had a Deaf cultural identity and participated in social activities within the Deaf community, communicated in American Sign Language (ASL) and read at a Grade 3 reading level, or above (results from the Stanford Achievement Test, Ninth Edition). Multiple sources of data (i.e., videotaped structured interviews, questionnaires, Informal Reading Inventories, cued-recall interviews, informal conversations with students, teachers and parents, and document review) recorded how they approached reading tasks through observations of reading episodes at home, school and in the community. Overall, case study findings provided important information regarding ASL signing Deaf readers' opinions about the value or purposes of reading while living within the Deaf and Hearing worlds. Participants valued reading and used reading and writing to interface Deaf and Hearing cultures. Converging evidence revealed how participants used both ASL and English as tools for building comprehension and decoding while reading. Contrary to the literature, findings reflected how these two Deaf high school students were active, strategic readers.

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