Center Papers

Effects Of SES On Literacy Development Of Deaf Signing Bilinguals

Twitchell, P., Morford, J. P., & Hauser, P. C. (2015). Effects of SES on literacy development of deaf signing bilinguals. American Annals of the Deaf, 159(9), 433-446.

Abstract: Research on spoken language monolinguals and bilinguals has shown that socioeconomic status significantly affects literacy outcomes. One explanation for this effect is that children in higher-SES homes have better oral proficiency in the language of literacy instruction (Hoff, 2013; Zhang et al., 2013). American Sign Language-English deaf bilingual children exhibit a unique profile because they achieve L2 literacy without prior development of spoken L2 proficiency. This provides an opportunity to evaluate the role of SES in literacy development without the confounding effect of the influence of spoken language proficiency. The present study evaluated effects of SES and ASL proficiency on 135 deaf signing bilinguals' English reading proficiency. Although SES and ASL proficiency were not correlated in this sample, both factors were significant predictors of reading proficiency. The implications of these findings for educational reform in schools with deaf students are discussed.