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Contributions of the emergent literacy environment to literacy outcomes for young children who are deaf

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Specific characteristics of early literacy environments support hearing children's emergent literacy. The researchers investigated these characteristics' role in emergent literacy in young deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) children, using the Early Language and Literacy Classroom Observation (ELLCO; M. W Smith, Dickinson, Sangeorge, & Anastasopoulos, 2002). Eighteen self-contained classrooms of preschool, kindergarten, and first-grade DHH children (N = 40) were studied. Hierarchical linear analysis was used to examine study participants' classroom environment and growth in emergent literacy skills. Correlations suggested that classroom environment was more closely related to vocabulary and phonological awareness in DHH children than in typically hearing children. Major differences among classrooms were also indicated. However, growth in children's skills did not correlate strongly with attributes captured by the ELLCO. This suggests that classrooms promoting emergent literacy skills acquisition in DHH children may differ from classrooms of typically developing hearing children. (author abstract)
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