Helen Blom is a PhD-candidate at the Behavioural Science Institute of the Radboud University in the Netherlands. The main focus of her PhD-project, that is funded by Royal Dutch Kentalis, is on reading comprehension of hypertexts in students with hearing or language impairment. Next to her PhD, Helen is a researcher at Kentalis, where she works on a project on the reading development of students with a hearing or language impairment or with a multiple disability.
Within their education, deaf and hard-of-hearing (DHH) students are encouraged to go online and search information within digital texts that contain blue hyperlinks. Little is known about how D/HH students comprehend these so-called hypertexts. During a four-year PhD project, it is examined what text factors (text structure and availability of a graphic overview) and student factors (vocabulary size and working memory capacity) influence hypertext comprehension. Furthermore, an intervention has been designed that aimed to increase hypertext comprehension. Hereby, not only comprehension was measured, but also the reading process by means of eye tracking measures. During this presentation, a general overview will be given of the results of this PhD project and the intervention study will be discussed in more detail.