Document Type


Date of Degree


Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Speech and Hearing Science

First Advisor

Richard Hurtig

First Committee Member

Bruce Tomblin

Second Committee Member

Nancy Jackson

Third Committee Member

Gary Sasso

Fourth Committee Member

Sandie Bass-Ringdahl

Fifth Committee Member

Juan P. Hourcade


Early lap-reading experiences have been shown to benefit normally hearing children. Within this lap-reading context, children are exposed to more diverse vocabulary, complex syntactic structures, story grammar constructs, and higher level thinking skills such as inferencing, predicting, and evaluating. There is also evidence that children with hearing impairment benefit from lap-reading experiences, but with more modest effects. It has been hypothesized that greater effects have not been documented due to the fact that many hearing parents may be uncomfortable or may lack adequate skills to teach their deaf children literacy skills in sign and print as do deaf parents by reading and sharing stories from books with their deaf children (Marschark & Harris, 1996).

In addition, the reading skills of deaf children have historically been, and continue to be lower than those of normally hearing children. It is hypothesized by this researcher that a factor which contributes to the reading difficulties seen in the majority of deaf children is a lack of linguistic and literacy exposure and practice that comes from early lap-reading experiences with an adult, who is competent in the language of the child.

The Gallaudet Shared Reading Project represents an attempted intervention that has had some success; though there are inherent limitations to the program. An experimental approach that uses the Iowa E-Book seeks to make up for the limitations of the Shared Reading Project. This study involves the use of four mother-child dyads in a single subject design study that seeks to answer two research questions. The first involves testing the effects of including a signing narrator in the Iowa E-Book on the development of deaf children's knowledge of sign vocabulary and book related concepts. The second involves assessing changes in the parent-child interactions that occur while using the Iowa E-Book with and without sign support.


ix, 133 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 128-133).


Copyright 2008 Vannesa Theresa Mueller