Language Environments for Young Children with Hearing Loss: Teachers' Use of Linguistic Input Strategies that Support Vocabulary Development
Kan, Dana Lynn
Children with hearing loss are at risk for vocabulary delays which can subsequently impact their language and literacy outcomes. Although direct vocabulary instruction can be effective, previous research indicates teachers can maximize young children’s vocabulary learning by incorporating linguistic input strategies throughout the school day. Linguistic input – the language children are exposed to – is especially effective when it occurs during adult-to-child speech. This exploratory study sampled five teachers’ use of three linguistic input strategies in a preschool for children with hearing loss who use spoken language: 1) instructional vocabulary during free play, 2) conversational turns, and 3) reading aloud. The results indicated teachers’ use of the target linguistic input strategies was highly variable across teachers. Relatively low use of the target strategies could indicate missed opportunities to support children’s vocabulary development. However, because all of the teachers provided linguistic support, the results show these strategies can feasibly be delivered in preschools for children with hearing loss.