I was excited to read about the literacy and early intervention research going on at a college in our neighboring state. I think a lot of the teachers involved in the Big Universe online community will be interested too.
A pair of professors at Georgia State University (GSU) has been developing new curriculum and intervention protocol for pre-K and kindergarten students with hearing loss. Dr. Amy Lederberg and Dr. Susan Easterbrooks from the GSU College of Education hope soon to have comprehensive professional development resources for other teachers working with this population.
A $1.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Special Education Research will help them see this dream come to fruition. The curriculum in the works will offer methods to teach the alphabet, phonological awareness, storytelling, narrative structure and other literary components. The developers want to be able to offer a companion curriculum for non-speaking deaf children, as well.
“We hope to have an even more successful intervention that will focus on both meaning-based parts of reading – how to read and understand a book – and code-based parts of literacy, which has to do with learning letters and being able to take apart words and put them back together again,” said Dr. Lederberg, a professor of educational psychology and special education, in a GSU news release written by Claire Miller.
While the Department of Education grant is exciting, an even bigger grant to the Atlanta school just has been announced. The National Center for Special Education Research of the Institute of Education Sciences – a research arm of the U.S. Department of Education – has awarded $10 million to fund the creation of the National Research and Development Center for Literacy and Deafness. It will be the first nationally funded center to improve the reading skills of deaf and hard of hearing children.
I tip my hat to you, Dr. Lederberg, Dr. Easterbrooks and fellow researchers. Your hard work and vision are going to make a difference in a lot of classrooms and in the lives of many hearing impaired children.
Big Universe’s wide variety of online children’s picture books provides tons of reading options for special population students, including kids dealing with hearing loss, autism, Asperger’s and other literacy challenges.