This study examines the relationship between the communication modality preferences and reading skills for a group of 1,419 deaf first-year college students. These students were enrolled between the years 1984 and 2002 at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at the Rochester Institute of Technology. First, the relationship between self reported preference for communication and performance on a standardized assessment of English literacy is examined. Second, the relationship between self-rated sign language skills and reading performance is explored for the same group. Students prefering "Speech Alone" performed significantly better on the measure of reading ability than students prefering "Sign Alone" or "Sign and Speech together". Students who reported having No sign language skills or some sign language skills performed significantly better on the measure of reading ability than students who reported having Fair, Good or Excellent sign language skills. Contrary to previous studies, neither degree of deafness nor the hearing status of parents showed a significant relationship to performance on the measure of reading ability. A discussion of these results follows at the end of the paper.
Department, Program, or Center
Master of Science of Secondary Education of Students Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (NTID)
Kelly, Matthew, "The relationship between preferred language/communication modality and english literacy among deaf first-year college students" (2005). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
RIT – Main Campus