"I was born full deaf." Written language outcomes after 1 year of strategic and interactive writing instruction

Kimberly A Wolbers, Hannah M Dostal, Lisa M Bowers
Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education 2012, 17 (1): 19-38
Nonstandard grammatical forms are often present in the writing of deaf students that 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 1-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 analysis of variance 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 low achieving, 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., American Sign Language users, oral students, users of English-based sign).

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