Date of Award

Fall 12-20-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Psychology and Special Education

First Advisor

Amy R. Lederberg, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Daphne Greenberg, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Ann Kruger, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Robin Morris, Ph.D.




Victoria Burke

Siegler’s (1996) overlapping waves model of strategy development applied to reading posits that children use multiple strategies to read words from the earliest stage of reading development, that these strategies coexist over a long period of time, and that experience results in gradual change in the strategies children use and the effectiveness with which they are executed. Phonological recoding is one of the most effective early developing reading strategies and is predictive of future reading success for hearing children (Ehri, 2005; Juel & Mindencupp, 2000; Share & Gur, 1999). However, less is known regarding the extent to which young children who are deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) develop and use phonological strategies to read words. Due to technological advances such as cochlear implants and digital hearing aids, many DHH children have sufficient functional hearing to be able to perceive and represent spoken language. For these children, beginning reading strategies may resemble those of hearing children (Geers, Tobey, Moog, & Brenner, 2008; Lederberg, Schick, & Spencer, in press). The purpose of this study was to describe changes in the word reading strategies of 15 DHH preschoolers with functional hearing. These children received explicit instruction in alphabetic knowledge, phonological awareness, and early reading strategies in a year-long intervention. Instruction was videotaped and children’s overt behavior while independently reading words was coded for reading strategy and accuracy. The preschoolers used multiple reading strategies at all times including two phonological recoding strategies (segmenting phonemes only, segmenting and blending phonemes) and retrieval. Gradual change was observed in strategy choice, execution, and accuracy. Children’s use of segmenting only decreased while segmenting and blending phonemes increased between the beginning and middle of the year. Retrieval use increased between the middle and end of the year. Execution of phonological strategies gradually improved over the year. These results suggest young DHH children who have functional hearing develop and use strategies in a manner similar to hearing children and benefit from explicit instruction in the alphabetic principle.