Introductory Challenge

Because reading is part of the language development process, anything that interferes with learning oral language is also likely to interfere in some ways with learning to read. For example, even mild and moderate hearing impairments compromise the ability to distinguish sounds. Students with hearing impairments tend to have smaller vocabularies than peers without hearing impairments; and they use shorter sentences, have more trouble understanding abstract concepts, and take longer to learn to read.

Imagine growing up with a mild or moderate hearing impairment. To help you imagine what this experience would be like, visit the following web page and try out the hearing loss simulator: click here. Think about how the hearing loss might interfere with your learning even as an adult.

Next, think about what it might be like to learn to read in a language that was not your first language. Think about how you would feel in a classroom where most of your peers were native speakers.

Finally, consider the sorts of support you might provide to a student in your school who is experiencing challenges with reading because of a disability or lack of familiarity with English.