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Arnold School of Public Health


Contributions of Phonological Processing to Reading and Spelling in School-Age Children with Cochlear Implants

Funding: American Speech-Language Hearing Foundation New Investigators Research Grant (PI: Werfel)

Despite advances in amplification technology (e.g., cochlear implants), many children with hearing loss continue to exhibit poor literacy achievement compared to their same-age peers with normal hearing. However, the underlying linguistic mechanisms that contribute to reading and spelling performance for children with hearing loss who develop spoken language are not well-understood.

Phonological processing is one important predictor of later reading and spelling for children with normal hearing, and an increasing body of research confirms that phonological processing also predicts literacy outcomes for children with hearing loss. Phonological processing broadly refers to three component skills: phonological awareness, phonological memory, and phonological recoding. Phonological awareness is one’s ability to analyze the sounds of language, separate from letters and meaning. Phonological memory is one’s ability to store and retrieve phonological information from short-term memory. Phonological recoding is one’s ability to retrieve phonological information from long-term memory.

Research to date has not evaluated the differing contributions of the component skills of phonological processing to reading and spelling for children with cochlear implants. To develop effective literacy interventions, it is vital to understand the role that each individual phonological processing component plays in literacy achievement for children with cochlear implants.

Therefore, the goals of this study are twofold:

goal1

Goal 1: Explore the relation between phonological awareness, phonological memory, and phonological recoding and reading performance of school-age children with cochlear implants.

goal2

Goal 2: Explore the relation between phonological awareness, phonological memory, and phonological recoding and spelling performance of school-age children with cochlear implants.

 

Impact: This study will provide knowledge of the linguistic basis of disruptions in reading and spelling performance in children with cochlear implants.

Want to be Involved?
If you are the parent of a child with cochlear implants who is in 3rd through 6th grade, click here to request more information about participating in this study.

If you are a student at USC and would like to volunteer on this study, click here.

Publications from this Study:
Presentations: Werfel, K. L., & Hendricks, A. E. (2014, December). Contributions of phonological processing to reading and spelling in school-age children with cochlear implants. 14th Symposium on Cochlear Implants in Children, Nashville, TN.