Predictors of early reading skills in 5-year-old children with hearing loss who use spoken language

Linda Cupples, Teresa Y.C. Ching, Kathryn Crowe, Julia Day, Mark Seeto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)


This research investigated the concurrent association between a range of language, literacy, cognitive, and demographic variables and early reading skills in 101 5-year-old children with prelingual hearing losses ranging from mild to profound. All participants were fitted with hearing aids (n = 71) or cochlear implants (n = 30). They completed standardised assessments of phonological awareness (PA), receptive vocabulary, letter knowledge, word and non-word reading, passage comprehension, maths reasoning, and nonverbal cognitive ability. Multiple regressions revealed that PA (assessed using judgements of similarity based on words'™ initial or final sounds) made a significant, independent contribution to children'™s early reading ability (for both letters and words/non-words) after controlling for variation in receptive vocabulary, nonverbal cognitive ability, and a range of demographic variables (including gender, degree of hearing loss, type of sensory device, age at fitting of sensory devices, and level of maternal education). Importantly, the relationship between PA and reading was specific to early reading and did not generalise to another academic ability, maths reasoning. Finally, the results showed that letter knowledge (names or sounds) was superior in children whose mothers had undertaken post-secondary education, and that more severe hearing losses were associated with inferior levels of receptive vocabulary. By contrast, earlier fitting of sensory devices was not significantly associated with better PA, vocabulary, reading, or maths outcomes in this cohort of children, most of whom were fitted with sensory devices before 3 years of age.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-104
Number of pages20
JournalReading Research Quarterly
Issue number1
Early online date2013
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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