Why did STARS start a literacy program for Deaf & Hard of Hearing students?
According to Gallaudet Research Institute, 90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents & of those parents only 23% ever learn American Sign Language (ASL). Therefore, the first time 77% of these young children are exposed to language is when they enter the school system at age four & are introduced to ASL for the first time. They are behind developmentally; the majority of their focus the first few years will be on establishing and strengthening their language skills, which involves learning both English and ASL.
About the Program
Thanks to funding provided by Community Enhancement Fund, STARS was able to develop a program focused on Literacy for the deaf and hard of hearing students we serve. STARS DHH-Literacy program works individually and in small groups with students who are deaf or hard of hearing to improve their reading comprehension, writing skills and sign language proficiency. Additionally, we work with teachers and parents on best practices to assess and support the students in these areas.
The program currently provides services to 12 deaf and hard of hearing students in three different schools: Hillsboro High School, West End Middle and Eakin Elementary School. Using the Fairview Literacy program, we meet with each student weekly, either individually or in a small group.
The program focuses on improving reading comprehension, writing skills, sign language proficiency, bridging multiple meaning words and conceptual signing of topics and items translating from English to American Sign Language. One unique aspect of this program is the lessons are specifically customized to meet the students at their level of learning, as well as incorporate their individual interests.