Ros Herman is Professor of Language and Deafness at City, University of London, where she teaches student Speech and Language Therapists. Her research interests include sign language acquisition and assessment; language and literacy impairments, and communication and literacy interventions. She is a Research Associate at DCAL, University College London. Her latest research project is piloting an integrated phonics and language reading programme in primary schools with deaf and hearing children.
Decoding (phonics) and language skills are essential for reading (Gough & Tunmer, 1986). Current educational practice focusses on phonics and although some children make good progress, a significant proportion struggle, particularly those with weak language skills, including many deaf children.
Research with hearing children indicates that interventions show effects for areas that are directly targeted, and that integrated interventions convey advantages for reading over interventions with a single focus (Hatcher et al., 1994; Lonigan et al., 2013). We report findings from a study of 24 deaf and 120 hearing children across 6 schools using a fully integrated phonics and language intervention to teach reading. Teachers in half the schools implemented the intervention while the remainder continued with standard literacy teaching. All children were assessed at the start and end of a school year. We report on the implementation of the intervention and present outcomes for deaf and hearing child participants.