Research

Research Journal Articles

Transfer of Writing Skills Across Genres

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Thirty-seven deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) students in grades four through six participated in a year of Strategic and Interactive Writing Instruction, an approach to writing instruction designed to be responsive to DHH students’ unique language experiences and profiles. The current study investigated the transfer of writing skills between genres by analyzing participants’ recount, information report, and persuasive writing samples at four time points: at the beginning of the academic year, immediately before genre-focused instruction, at the end of 9 weeks of instruction in a genre, and 9 weeks after the conclusion of instruction in a genre. Results from the study demonstrate that DHH students transfer genre-specific writing skills between genres.
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Does Teacher Efficacy Predict Writing Practices Of Teachers Of Deaf And Hard of Hearing Students

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Forty-four elementary grade teachers of deaf and hard of hearing students were surveyed about how they taught writing and their beliefs about writing. Beliefs about writing included their self-efficacy to teach writing, attitude toward writing, and epistemological beliefs about writing. These teachers from fifteen different states in the United States slightly agreed that they were efficacious writing teachers and they were slightly positive about their writing. They slightly agreed that learning to write involves effort and process, moderately disagreed that writing development is innate or fixed, slightly disagreed that knowledge about writing is certain, and were equally split about whether writing knowledge comes from authorities and experts. On average, teachers applied the twenty-two instructional writing practices surveyed at least once a month. They reported their students wrote weekly, and their writing was supported through goal setting, feedback, and prewriting activities. Writing instruction mostly focuses on teaching grammar and how to plan compositions. Teacher self-efficacy uniquely and statistically predicted reported teaching practices after attitude toward writing, and epistemological beliefs were first controlled. Recommendations for future research and implications for practice are presented.


Written language outcomes of deaf elementary students engaged in authentic writing

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This study explores the impact of Strategic and Interactive Writing Instruction (SIWI) on six students’ written language skills through the application of a multiple-baseline probe single case design with embedded condition. This was part of a larger Institute of Education Sciences (IES)-funded project focused on the development and feasibility of implementation of SIWI. For the majority of skills analyzed, there were improvements in the mean level of performance with the implementation of SIWI, as well as more consistent responding and positive trends in the data. The study also revealed that teachers are in need of additional tools to aid the systematic identification and tracking of syntax skills in children’s written language development, and to distinguish these from other writing skills such as conventions or handwriting.

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Beyond the red pen: A functional grammar approach to evaluating the written language of deaf students

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Deaf students often differ from their hearing peers in written language development.  Providing developmentally appropriate instruction is ideal, yet current methods of writing assessment do not provide teachers with sufficient information regarding the written language (i.e., syntactic) development of deaf students.  In this research, we use a Systemic Functional Grammar (SFG) approach to language analysis to provide teachers a way to evaluate deaf students’ writing. This project consisted of two studies.  The first study focused on whether SFG analysis could be helpful for teachers of the deaf.  The second study focused on mapping a trajectory of the written language development of deaf students and the development of written language inventory for teachers of the deaf. This inventory, along with additional evaluation tools, has the potential to impact both objective setting and instruction.
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The Language Zone: Differentiating writing instruction for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

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Interactive Writing is a powerful support for language and literacy development; however, its emphasis on using oral language to construct written language can present challenges for deaf students due to their unique and diverse language experiences. Teachers (n = 14) using Strategic and Interactive Writing Instruction (SIWI) in grades 3–5 were observed using a space referred to as ‘the language zone’ (LZ) to address the needs of deaf students. The LZ is a space in a classroom where the creation, translation and revision of ideas is made visible. Researchers developed a flowchart with three tiers to document the purposes for which teachers use the space. Accompanying scenarios provide concrete examples. Teachers can use the LZ flow chart as a tool to recognize, analyze and select instructional moves that may positively impact the language and literacy proficiencies of deaf students.

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The assessment of written phrasal constructs and grammar of deaf and hard of hearing students with varying expressive language abilities

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The purpose of this study was to examine the written phrasal constructs and grammar usage of deaf and hard of hearing students with varying expressive language skills. Twenty-nine d/hh middle school students attending a residential school for the deaf were divided into three language groups: students using spoken English, ASL/English bilinguals, and language delayed learners. Personal narrative writing samples were collected at the beginning, middle, and end of the academic year. The samples were divided into T-units and coded for language variables, including word efficiency ratio (WER) scores according to the Structural Analysis of Written Language (SAWL) and phrasal errors. The repeated measures ANOVA for WER III showed a statistically significant main effect with no between-subjects factor, demonstrating that students from all three language groups made positive gains in their written outcomes over one academic year. There was a reduction in phrasal errors over the course of the year for all language groups. Differences in word efficiency ratio scores by language groups are discussed. Findings from this study suggest that SAWL is an effective tool in assessing the grammatically of written compositions for d/hh students with varying language abilities over time. Instructional implications are discussed.

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Strategic and Interactive Writing Instruction: An efficacy study in grades 3-5

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A quasi-experimental study was conducted to examine the impact of Strategic and Interactive Writing Instruction on 3rd-5th grade deaf and hard of hearing students’ writing and written language compared to a business-as-usual condition (treatment group N = 41, comparison group N = 22). A total of 18 hours of instruction was provided for each of two types of writing—personal narrative and persuasive. Writing samples, collected prior to instruction and after, were scored for writing traits, written language accuracy, and complexity. Data were analyzed using a two-level, mixed-effects regression. Results show the treatment to be effective for personal narrative and persuasive writing traits, and personal narrative written language variables, with effect sizes ranging from 0.46 to 2.01. Treatment effects were also substantial for persuasive writing written language outcomes (0.38 to 1.06), although not all were statistically significant at the 0.05 level. The findings suggest the importance of apprenticeship in writing and consideration for the specific language needs of students with hearing loss.

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Practices and Routines In SIWI Lessons That Develop Reading Proficiency For D/HH Learners

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The average performance of Deaf and hard of hearing (D/hh) students on tests of reading comprehension is several grade equivalents below their high school hearing peers. This study explored how the reading-writing connection evident in instruction driven with a high fidelity to the principles of Strategic Interactive Writing Instruction (SIWI) addresses the literacy challenges of D/hh learners. The video footage of SIWI lessons in two grade three classrooms were examined using a comingling of inductive and interpretive analysis and utilizing Spradley’s nine semantic relationships to determine the instructional and learner practices and routines that supported development of word recognition skills. The following instructional and learner practices and routines were identified: engaging students in cognitively demanding discourse that featured extended discourse and persistence in questioning; a high volume of repeated and wide reading; high volume of writing; multiple representation of words with an emphasis on fingerspelling; and attending to language input.

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A three-year study of a professional development program’s impact on teacher knowledge and classroom implementation of Strategic and Interactive Writing Instruction

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A professional development (PD) program for Strategic and Interactive Writing Instruction (SIWI) integrating effective PD features was implemented with teachers over three years. Using a one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA), it was examined whether length of participation in PD impacted knowledge and ability to faithfully implement. Findings indicate significant improvements with each year of PD; those who participated for three consecutive years received the highest possible ratings on knowledge as measured by the Levels of Use (LOU) and instruction as measured by the SIWI observation and fidelity instrument. Additionally, because of modifications to the PD program, it was examined whether the year of one’s PD involvement impacted outcomes. Findings reveal that outcomes were strongest during the last year when SIWI mentors were present.

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Examining student writing proficiencies across genres: Results of an intervention study

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This study examines the patterns of growth across both taught and untaught genres of writing for deaf and hard of hearing students in grades 4–6. Twenty-three students were exposed to Strategic and Interactive Writing Instruction (SIWI) for 5 weeks, during which time they received guided, interactive instruction focused on how writers address particular purposes and audiences with their writing. By examining student writing samples before and after both regular writing instruction and SIWI using genre-specific rubrics, we investigated whether students transfer and generalize writing strategies and processes learned in one genre to writing in a genre for which they did not receive instruction, in this case: information report writing. We found that after 5 weeks focused on recount genre instruction, students spontaneously transfer competencies related to genre-specific features that were not explicitly taught, and that students with greater language proficiency did so more effectively. We discuss these findings as they relate to theories of composition and language competence, and generate implications for writing instruction that can lead to growth in writing.

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The writing performance of elementary students receiving Strategic and Interactive Writing Instruction

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Strategic and Interactive Writing Instruction (SIWI) has led to improved writing and language outcomes among deaf and hard of hearing (d/hh) middle grades students. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of SIWI on the written expression of d/hh elementary students across recount/ personal narrative, information report, and persuasive genres. Five multiple-probe case studies demonstrate a relationship between implementation of SIWI and improvements in genre-related writing performance. The effect of instruction was most immediately demonstrated with information reports and persuasive writing, whereas several sessions of recount instruction were needed for students to satisfy performance criteria. Additionally, pre and post data from a larger group of students (N=31) were compared. Wilcoxon Signed-Rank test statistics were statistically significant for each genre with medium to high effect sizes. Data suggest SIWI as a promising practice with elementary students, and comments regarding further development and research are provided.

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An analysis of deaf students’ spelling skills during a year-long instructional writing approach

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Numerous studies have shown that spelling presents unique challenges for children who are deaf or hard of hearing (d/hh) and most do not develop age appropriate spelling skills. However, it is critical that these skills are acquired in order to use written language for academic or vocational purposes. Spelling errors from the writing samples of 29 middle school students in a state school for the Deaf were analyzed to examine changes over time. Samples were gathered before, during, and after a year-long writing intervention using Strategic and Interactive Writing Instruction (SIWI). When using SIWI, students are exposed to proper spelling during guided writing instruction; however, spelling is not a specific focus of each lesson. In this study, a linguistic analysis of spelling errors was used to assess each child’s understanding of the phonological, morphological, orthographic, semantic and visual imagery rules that apply to written words. No significant improvements in spelling were noted and the results indicate that spelling should be targeted during writing lessons. The results provide important information on the acquisition of spelling skills with this unique population and the use of narrative samples to assess spelling

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“We are authors”: A qualitative analysis of deaf students writing during one year of Strategic and Interactive Writing (SIWI)

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This article expands on prior Strategic and Interactive Writing Instruction (SIWI) research by examining students’ development as writers.  Findings from a qualitative analysis of the writing development of 20 middle-school deaf and hard of hearing students over one year of instruction is reported. Implications and future directions are discussed.

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Developing language and writing skills of deaf and hard of hearing students: A simultaneous approach

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In school, deaf and hard of hearing students (d/hh) are often exposed to American Sign Language (ASL) while also developing literacy skills in English. ASL does not have a written form, but is a fully accessible language to the d/hh through which it is possible to mediate understanding, draw on prior experiences and engage critical thinking and reasoning (Allington & Johnston, 2002, Vygotsky, 1987; Wertch, 1991). This study investigates the impact of Strategic and Interactive Writing Instruction (SIWI) on the development of signed expressive language (ASL) and written English. Our analysis demonstrates that a focus on ASL did not detract from students’ writing growth in English. Instead a focus on building ASL and written English proficiency simultaneously resulted in significant gains in both language and writing.

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A description of ASL features in writing

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Similar to second language students who embed features of their primary languages in the writing of their second languages, deaf and hard of hearing (d/hh) writers utilize features of American Sign Language (ASL) in their writing of English. The purpose of this study is to identify categories of language transfer, provide the prevalence of these transfer tendencies in the writings of 29 d/hh adolescents and describe whether language features are equally or differently responsive to instruction. Findings indicate six categories of language transfer in order of prevalence: unique glossing & substitution, adjectives, plurality & adverbs, topicalization, and conjunctions. ASL features, of both lexical and syntactical nature, appear to respond similarly to instruction.

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Deaf writers’ application of ASL knowledge to English

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Language transfer theory elucidates how first language (L1) knowledge and grammatical features are applied in second language (L2) writing. Deaf and hard of hearing (d/hh) students who use or are developing American Sign Language (ASL) as their L1 may demonstrate use of ASL linguistic features in their writing of English. In this study, we investigated the extent to which 29 d/hh students in grades 6-8 (mean age = 13.2) with diverse ASL exposure incorporated ASL features in their English writing. We also investigated the impact of one year of Strategic and Interactive Writing Instruction (SIWI) to increase students’ metalinguistic knowledge and linguistic competence, and subsequently reduce ASL features in writing. Results indicate that ASL transfer is found in the writings of students with varied L1 experiences, and that SIWI can lead to significant reductions of ASL features in writing. The findings suggest that bilingual literacy programs where there is an emphasis on implicit language competence and metalinguistic knowledge can support d/hh students in the development of written English.

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“I was born full deaf.” Written language outcomes after one year of Strategic and Interactive Writing Instruction (SIWI)

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Nonstandard grammatical forms are often present in the writing of deaf students which are rarely, if ever, seen in the writing of hearing students. With the implementation of Strategic and Interactive Writing Instruction (SIWI) in previous studies, students have demonstrated significant gains in high-level writing skills (e.g., text structure) but have also made gains with English grammar skills. This one-year study expands on prior research by longitudinally examining the written language growth (i.e., writing length, sentence complexity, sentence awareness and function words) of 29 deaf middle school students. A repeated-measures ANOVA with a between-subjects variable for literacy achievement level was used to examine gains over time and the intervention’s efficacy when used with students of various literacy levels. Students, whether high- or lowachieving, demonstrated statistically significant gains with writing length, sentence complexity and sentence awareness. Subordinate clauses were found to be an area of difficulty, and follow up strategies are suggested. An analysis of function word data, specifically prepositions and articles, revealed different patterns of written language growth by language group (e.g., ASL users, oral students, users of English-based sign).

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Using ASL and print-based sign to build fluency and greater independence with written English among deaf students

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This study investigated the use of ASL and print-based sign in the development of English writing fluency and writing independence among deaf, middle school students. ASL was the primary language through which students engaged in higher-level thinking, problem solving and meaning making. Print-based sign was used for rereading the collaboratively constructed English text. Mixed method approaches were utilized. First, a pretest-posttest control group design investigated whether students receiving the instruction made significantly greater gains compared to non-receivers with length of text—one indicator of writing fluency. There were a total of 33 students, 16 in the treatment group and 17 in the comparison group. The intervention lasted a total of 8 weeks, during which the treatment teacher guided the collaborative construction of two English report papers. The comparison group continued with its usual writing instruction and had equal instructional time. The analysis of variance (ANOVA) for length was statistically significant with a large effect size (d=1.53). Additionally, qualitative data demonstrated ways in which three very different classes in the treatment group gained greater English competency and fluency. Further development of ASL as L1 was deemed a necessary component for students with language delays. All students exhibited progressively more independence with writing over time.

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Strategic and Interactive Writing Instruction (SIWI): Apprenticing deaf students in the construction of English text

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This study investigates the effects of using Strategic and Interactive Writing Instruction (SIWI) with deaf, middle school students who use American Sign Language as their L1 and written English as L2. Using a pretest-posttest control group design, the research explores whether students receiving SIWI made significantly greater gains compared to those not receiving SIWI on a number of variables. There are 33 total students, 16 in the treatment group and 17 in the comparison group. The intervention lasted a total of 8 weeks, during which time the treatment group collaboratively constructed two report papers using SIWI components, and the comparison group continued with their typical literacy instruction. The pre and posttest measures were scored, according to rubrics, for evidence of primary traits, contextual language, and conventions. The multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) and follow-up univariate analyses were statistically significant. Furthermore, effect sizes (d) were large to very large, ranging from 1.27 to 2.65, indicating SIWI to be an effective approach with deaf L2 writers.

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Using balanced and interactive writing instruction to improve the higher order and lower order writing skills of deaf students

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The current study reports the findings of balanced and interactive writing instruction used with 16 deaf and hard of hearing students. Although the instruction has been used previously, this was the first time it had been modified to suit the specific needs of deaf children and the first time it had been implemented with this subpopulation of students. The intervention took place in two elementary classrooms (N=8) and one middle school classroom (N=8) for a total of 21 days. A comparison of pre and posttest scores on both writing and reading measures evidenced that students made significant gains with use of genre-specific traits, use of contextual language, editing/revising skills, and word identification. Students showed neither gains nor losses with conventions and total word count. In addition, a one-way MANOVA was used to detect any school-level effects. Elementary students made significantly greater gains with respect to conventions and word identification, and middle school students made significantly greater gains with editing and revising tasks.

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Reports

Recommendation Report: Emergent writers of all ages

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Secondary Writing Instruction_Technical Report

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Book Chapters

School as a site for natural language learning

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According to the sociocultural perspective of language development, language learning is a by-product of communication that is meaningful. For deaf students, who often have limited access to communication at home, it becomes more essential that their school provides a rich communicative environment. Meaningful interaction is a powerful motivating force in human development and learning. When a deaf child is provided full communicative access in the classroom, where the teachers and classmates play the facilitative role of helping the child understand and make meaning, the child is provided an invaluable opportunity to learn language naturally. Critical questions are examined related to the access to, implementation of, and impact of a communication-rich environment. The research is grounded in sociocultural theories of learning to illuminate possible ways to mitigate the impoverished contexts for language, literacy, and cognitive development.


Video review and reflection for ongoing inservice teacher professional development

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In this chapter we describe how a rubric-style observation instrument for observing classroom writing instruction was used to focus and optimize collaborative video analysis sessions among teachers and researchers spread across six states. As part of a 3-year Institute of Education Sciences (IES) development grant, we used videos of classroom instruction both as data for researchers studying the nature and impact of a specific instructional approach, Strategic and Interactive Writing Instruction (SIWI), and as a vehicle for collaborative teacher professional development– for both teachers and teacher leaders. Design. By tying video analysis to a shared observation instrument, we were able to target video clip selection for discussion, and focus our analysis to support teachers across several states and school settings implementing a new approach to writing instruction. After a brief overview of the project for which videos were used, we describe the tools and protocols developed over time to ensure the efficient and powerful use of collaborative video analysis. We also share our experiences on the nature and outcomes of these collaborative sessions both in terms of teachers’ involvement and changes in practice over time. Findings. We argue that the use of a common rubric to guide video clip selection, discussion, and analysis allowed teachers to strategically engage in “data reduction” – i.e. not be overwhelmed by the amount of video data – and to use the videos as catalysts for conversations as well as evidence of what works well for individual students. As researchers, these sessions allowed us to ensure collaborative video analysis sessions were focused, efficient, and growth-oriented as well as sources of data for understanding trends in challenges and trajectories of growth for teachers implementing a new approach to instruction. Practical Implications. This work illustrates how researchers can use video for dual purposes–to conduct literacy investigations and to provide teachers with professional development involving video review and reflection.

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The integrations of digital tools during Strategic and Interactive Writing Instruction

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The purpose of this chapter is to gain insight from the ways a group of elementary teachers of the deaf and hard of hearing chose to integrate digital tools into evidence-based writing instruction and the ways these technologies were used to support student learning. After professional development that exposed these teachers to twelve new digital tools, they were observed incorporating several new tools into their instruction; however, most of the tools were not the ones targeted during professional development. There are factors related to both teacher perspectives and professional development design that seem to play a role in what digital tools are used, how they are used, and who uses them. Based on these factors, suggestions are made for the design of future professional development that more effectively introduces technologies to teachers and supports their efforts to integrate these tools into classroom instruction.

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Interventions for the deaf and language delayed

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This chapter provides a synthesis of previous literacy research with deaf students, and it suggests a number of future directions. Much attention throughout the chapter is given to one subpopulation of deaf students—those with severe to profound losses who are less likely to develop oral language skills and who encounter unique barriers to reading and writing development when compared to their hearing or hard of hearing peers. There is a need for specialized literacy instruction of the deaf in order to be responsive to the specific language and literacy challenges they encounter. Two main areas are discussed in this chapter: (1) the occurrence of delays in development of expressive language and (2) the effect of having a visually and spatially-based language as one’s primary mode of communication. Instructional interventions that address these specific challenges and attempt to positively impact reading or writing in English are highlighted throughout.


Practitioner Journal Articles

Technology Tools that Support the Writing Process

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Technology—in the form of digital tools incorporated into writing instruction—can help teachers motivate and engage young children, and it may be especially critical for students who do everything they can to avoid writing. Technology may bolster student involvement, foster the engagement of reluctant or struggling writers, and support writing instruction. However, it does even more. A look at the use of technology in two classes shows how technology can create authentic writing opportunities and impact young writers’ choices. Not only do students in these classes engage with their assignment, but they also interact with their audience, explore the purpose of their assignment, and understand their assignment’s impact.

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Adapted for deaf students, “Morning Message” helps build writing skills

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One of the greatest challenges teachers of deaf students face is how to teach students to write effectively. Teachers want them to plan, organize, and relay meaning in a coherent way, but teachers also expect them to develop a sense of control over English writing conventions and mechanics. It is probably no surprise that teachers are constantly looking for and testing the kinds of instruction that succeed in teaching these writing skills to students who are deaf or hard of hearing. In this article, the authors discuss an instructional approach, called “Morning Message” by the teachers who use it at Michigan State University, as a guided interactive writing activity. Since the authors learned about Morning Message, they have focused their efforts on adapting this activity to better accommodate the specific needs of students who are deaf or hard of hearing. The authors discuss how Morning Message helps build writing skills and benefits deaf students.

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Dissertations

SIWI in an itinerant teaching setting: Contextual factors impacting instruction

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In the last 40 years, there has been a shift in where deaf and hard-of-hearing (d/hh) students have been educated (Foster & Cue, 2009), with a majority of d/hh students now spending at least part of their school day in the general education classroom instead of residential or day-schools for the deaf. Many of these students receive specialized support from an itinerant teacher. D/hh children have unique language needs due to their access (or lack thereof) to natural language for acquisition purposes. Insufficient access to language, ASL or English, may be due to: delays in identification and/or amplification, auditory input being partial, and/or the lack of fluent sign language models (Strassman & Schirmer, 2012). D/hh students’ language proficiency has rippling effects, impacting their literacy, both reading and writing, and subsequently all subject areas. With d/hh students needing support for writing, especially given that state standards and national teaching organizations have emphasized the incorporation of writing in content areas (Gabriel & Dostal, 2015), itinerant teachers need to be prepared to provide writing instruction that meets the needs of d/hh students in this teaching context. The purpose of this study was to examine how Strategic and Interactive Writing Instruction (SIWI), a writing framework developed for instruction with d/hh students that is typically modeled in a classroom setting, was implemented by two itinerant teachers and if they found a need to adapt any components of the framework for their context. After analyzing video footage of a full unit of instruction, multiple interviews, and artifacts from each teacher, I found that the itinerant teachers’ instruction was not inherently different from their training. I also found that both teachers addressed their students’ theory of mind needs in different ways, and desired instruction and support in this area. While the participants worked with students using different modes of communication in districts with differing levels of support, both teachers expressed similar context-specific factors that impacted their implementation of SIWI, which were: time, district-specific variables, supporting writing in the general education classroom, and physical space/organization. Based on the findings, recommendations are provided.

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Developing a Written Language Inventory for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students: A Systemic Functional Grammar Approach

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Deaf and hard of hearing (d/hh) students are extremely diverse in language development due to vast differences in residual hearing, response to hearing technologies, and exposure to American Sign Language. Writing is a struggle for these students who have delayed and limited access to English. Studies have found that d/hh students continue to lag behind their hearing peers in syntactic development. Unfortunately, current methods of writing assessment do not provide teachers with sufficient information regarding the syntactic development of d/hh students. This dissertation responds to the need for an assessment that is able to provide this information that is necessary for setting sentence-level objectives and planning developmentally-appropriate instruction.

This project began when I conducted a small pilot study to determine how Systemic Functional Grammar (SFG) analysis could impact teachers ability to set instructional objectives. I conducted a SFG analysis to identify the syntactic structures used by a small group (N=26) of d/hh and hearing 3rd-5th graders. The students were divided into low, mid, and high language proficiency groups and a hearing peer group (N=9) was added. I used the findings of the analysis to construct syntactic structure progression charts to guide teachers in SFG analysis, and four teachers field-tested these charts. The study findings indicated that while SFG analysis can provide teachers with insight into their students’ present level of syntactic development and assist them in setting individual objectives, the time requirements associated with SFG analysis make it an unlikely choice for written language assessment.

The purpose of the current study was to construct a written language inventory that could allow teachers to benefit from the advantages of SFG analysis, without requiring extensive time for training and analysis of samples. Using the pilot study findings, I constructed a draft of the written language inventory. The draft was field tested by 8 teachers of d/hh students in a variety of settings, and a second SFG analysis was conducted to examine the syntactic structures used by a larger, more diverse group of students (N=98). Findings were used to make revisions to the structure and content of the written language inventory.

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Practices and routines in SIWI lessons that develop skills in reading

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The average performance of Deaf and hard of hearing (D/hh) students on test of reading comprehension is several grade equivalents below their high school hearing peers. The reading-writing connection is one way to address the literacy challenges of D/hh learners. This study explored that connection in instruction that was driven with a high fidelity to the principles of Strategic Interactive Writing Instruction (SIWI). The data for this study came from two grade three classes involved in the second half of a Year II project that was part of a 3-year Institute of Education Sciences-funded project to develop SIWI for use with D/hh students. The video footage of 18 and 31 SIWI lessons spanning two units of instruction in a TC and Bilingual classroom respectively were examined using a comingling of inductive and interpretive analysis and utilizing Spradley’s nine semantic relationships to determine the instructional and learner practices and routines that supported development of word recognition skills. A detailed narrative of the 49 lessons was provided and the following instructional and learner practices and routines were identified: engaging students in cognitively demanding discourse that featured extended discourse and persistence in questioning; a high volume of repeated and wide reading; high volume of writing; multiple representation of words with an emphasis on fingerspelling; and attending to language input. Recommendations made included: adding a high volume of repeated and wide reading as a major pillar of SIWI; informal and standardized reading assessments; individual students should lead the rereading and writing of English sentences; include research as part of planning for writing; and use the back translation approach to signing English text. There is need for further study in the following areas: a comparative analysis of the strategies used in the lowest and highest performing classes; a study that controls for individual practices and routines using multiple regression analysis to determine the variance as predictors of word recognition; an in-depth exploration of recasting; and an analysis of individual student interactions with the practices and routines in the bilingual setting and the relationship of those interactions to gains in word recognition skills.

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Developing students’ first language through a second language writing intervention: A simultaneous approach

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Deaf and hard of hearing (d/hh) children often acquire an L1 after age 3, thus are arguably more diverse than that of the general bilingual population. A unique problem therefore exists among d/hh late language learners—they often do not have an L1 to later develop an L2. This study investigated the impact of an English writing intervention (Strategic and Interactive Writing Instruction, SIWI) that incorporates support for the development of American Sign Language in an effort to illustrate the necessity of explicitly addressing the proposed interdependence of language learning. The research involved providing 23 upper elementary and middle school d/hh students with SIWI. SIWI has been shown to have a significant impact on student outcomes in language and literacy. The study was conducted in five classrooms—one fourth, two fifth, and two sixth grade classrooms—over a twelve-week period at a state residential school for the deaf. This allowed for two weeks of pre-test, mid-test and post-test administration, five weeks of regular instruction, and five weeks of intervention. The students received SIWI for four forty-five minute sessions and one thirty-minute session each week for a total of five weeks. The intervention replaced their regular 45 minutes of writing instruction. In order to measure expressive language growth in ASL, language samples for each student participant were collected. These samples were analyzed to chart expressive language growth during the time period with no SIWI intervention and while engaged in SIWI by reviewing them for students’ mean length of utterance (MLU), use of unintelligible utterances, and specific grammatical features of ASL, and individually for patterns of ASL expressive language growth. Repeated measures ANOVAs (within and between subjects) conducted for students’ MLU and unintelligible utterances revealed statistically significant growth after five weeks of SIWI. This study demonstrates the reciprocity of language learning. The foregrounding of written English supported the development of a more nuanced understanding of the use and features of ASL.

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Strategic and Interactive Writing Instruction (SIWI): Apprenticing deaf students in the construction of informative text

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The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of writing instruction that was strategic and interactive, namely Strategic and Interactive Writing Instruction (SIWI), when utilized with deaf, middle school students. In addition to strategic and interactive instruction, four minor instructional components included: (a) use of writing examples and non-examples; (b) metalinguistic knowledge building; (c) use of visual scaffolds; and (d) NIP-it lessons (i.e., contextualized mini-lessons involving Noticing, Instructing, and Practicing). The study used a non-equivalent, pretest-posttest control group design to explore whether students receiving SIWI made significantly greater gains compared to those not receiving SIWI on a number of writing variables and reading. The participants of the study were two teachers of the deaf and their respective middle school students. There were 33 total students, 16 in the treatment group and 17 in the comparison group. Students, teachers and schools were matched according to several pertinent variables. The SIWI intervention lasted a total of 8 weeks, during which the treatment teacher guided the collaborative construction of two informative papers; the comparison group continued with their usual literacy instruction. All students were given a battery of assessments prior to and after the intervention to evaluate any gains. These measures included (a) an informative writing assessment, (b) an editing and revising task, (c) a generalization writing probe similar to a 7th grade state standardized assessment, and (d) a SORT-R reading test. The first three measures were scored, according to rubrics, for organization, coherence, evidence of text structure, contextual language, and conventions. A second rater scored approximately 10 to 20% of the papers and obtained an interrater reliability of 0.93 to 1.0. A multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was performed along with the necessary follow-up univariate analyses. All analyses were statistically significant, finding SIWI to be an effective instructional approach. Furthermore, the effect sizes (d) or the magnitude of the differences between group means for writing variables were large to very large, ranging from 1.27 to 2.65. The effect size for the reading variable was small to moderate at 0.39.

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