Deaf Preschooler’s Literacy Events



The aim of the study (Roos, 2004) reported was to focus on the literacy events going on at a preschool, from the children’s perspective. The study was a ethnographic study of a group of deaf children during a two-year period. The method used was video recordings and interviews.


To meet literacy in a visual way

The results showed that deaf children developed their interest in reading and writing during the first preschool years in much the same way as hearing children do. The children showed an increasing meta linguistic awareness and an understanding of the function of written texts. There was however a tendency to underestimate the children's competence from the adults point of view. The results also show that the children used several kinds of strategies in learning to read and write, suggesting that there may not be only one way of acquiring reading and writing skills but many.

The results from the study further indicates that it seems to be imperative that the teachers analyse their own strategies for working with and understanding the child as a visual human being, learning from the deaf children’s strategies for performing activities at the same time as maintaining contact with each other. The teacher should invite the child to talk about its own learning to promote awareness of the child’s own thinking about reading and writing and for the teacher to learn from this. Adults may need to reconsider their own assumptions about what deaf children can and cannot do.

The visual way of understanding the world and the visual way of understanding literacy needs to be better understood. This could help us find better methods for the development of literacy skills not only for deaf children but also for hearing having difficulties reading and writing.

The results of this study indicate that early literacy development among deaf children facilitates by a signing environment in a rich interaction among peers and adults. The adults understanding of the child as a visual human being and as a competent child, rather than focusing on the fact that the child is not able to hear is crucial.

The results also indicates that there is not "the best method" or "the best path to literacy" rather the results indicates that it is necessary to invite the child to participate in a large amount of literacy activities and to use a lot of different material in an environment where the child can interact fluently with others. This is best done in a way seeing the child not as a non-hearing person but as a visual human being.