Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Kimberly Ann Wolbers

Committee Members

Deborah A. Wooten, Stergios Botzakis, Schuyler W. Huck, Richard L. Allington


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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