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Title:A cross-cultural and cross-linguistic analysis of deaf reading practices in China: case studies using teacher interviews and classroom observations
Author(s):Jones, Gabrielle
Director of Research:Singleton, Jenny L.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Christianson, Kiel
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Singleton, Jenny L.; Packard, Jerome; Anderson, Richard C.; Mertens, Donna
Department / Program:Educational Psychology
Discipline:Educational Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Reading instruction
Chinese literacy
Chinese Sign Language
Cross-cultural research
Abstract:Longstanding beliefs about how children read accentuate the importance of phonological processing in mapping letters to sound. However, when one considers the nature of the script being read, the process can be far more complicated, particularly in the case of an alphabetic script like English (Share, 2008). Cross-cultural reading research reveals alternative modes of processing text that is not entirely phonological. Chinese is known for its non-alphabetic script and its greater reliance upon morphological processing (Anderson & Kuo, 2006), visual skills (Ho & Bryant, 1997; Huang & Hanley, 1995; McBride-Chang & Zhong, 2003), and radical awareness- all argued to be essential skills in deciphering the character-based script. Given the more visual and semantic structure of Chinese, would reading Chinese be easier for deaf students than a sound-based system like English? Deaf readers in China are nevertheless required to learn two very different scripts- one alphabetic (Pinyin) and another non-alphabetic (Simplified Chinese characters). Furthermore, we must consider the relationship between languages in the child’s environment (e.g. a tonal spoken language and a signed language) and the varying scripts (alphabetic and non-alphabetic Chinese). This study investigates how deaf teachers introduce scripts and languages within a bilingual classroom in China. Qualitative data were collected through teacher interviews and classroom observations. The data analysis approach relies upon principles incorporated from Grounded Theory (Bryant & Charmaz, 2007) and suggests the importance of sign language as a visual communicative strategy in teaching reading. By examining deaf children’s reading practices cross-culturally, researchers and practitioners will better understand the sociocultural and sociolinguistic influences that drive and shape reading instruction. Furthermore, investigating a context where the script is less sound based allows us to explore just how visual a deaf reader can be.
Issue Date:2013-05-24
Rights Information:Copyright 2013 Gabrielle Anastasia Jones
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-05-24
Date Deposited:2013-05

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