Comparing the Spelling and Reading Abilities of Students With Cochlear Implants and Students With Typical Hearing


The purpose of this study was to determine whether students with and without hearing loss (HL) differed in their spelling abilities and, specifically, in the underlying linguistic awareness skills that support spelling ability. Further, we examined whether there were differences between the two groups in the relation between reading and spelling. We assessed the spelling, word-level reading, and reading comprehension skills of 9 students with cochlear implants and 9 students with typical hearing, matched for reading age. The students' spellings were analyzed to determine whether the misspellings were due to errors with phonemic awareness, orthographic pattern or morphological awareness, or poor mental graphemic representations. The students with HL demonstrated markedly less advanced spelling abilities than the students with typical hearing. For the students with HL, the misspellings were primarily due to deficiencies in orthographic pattern and morphological awareness. Correlations between measures of spelling and both real word reading and reading comprehension were lower for the students with HL. With additional investigations using a similar approach to spelling analysis that captures the underlying causes for spelling errors, researchers will better understand the linguistic awareness abilities that students with HL bring to the task of reading and spelling.


Communication Sciences and Disorders

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Journal of deaf studies and deaf education