Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Degree Level



Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders


Bowers, Lisa

Committee Member/Reader

Glade, Rachel


Learning how to spell and applying knowledge from the five domains of language to spelling (phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics) is an essential component of academic success. In order to excel in school, all students need to learn how to spell. Students who are D/deaf and hard of hearing (d/hh) often struggle with spelling due to most methods of spelling education involving connecting spoken/heard sounds to letters, syllables, and words. There is limited research available regarding the methods deaf and hard-of-hearing students use to spell as well as error patterns typically made by this population.

The purpose of this research was to gain a better understanding of the changes in spelling as measured by a diagnostic assessment following a year of participation in Strategic and Interactive Writing Instruction (SIWI), a holistic approach designed to increase writing outcomes for students who are d/hh. Classroom teachers of D/deaf and hard-of-hearing students administered a spelling subtest taken from the Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Achievement (3rd Edition; WJTA-3). The spelling test of fifty-nine words was administered twice, once at the beginning and once at the end of the year. This spelling test data was then scored, and students received either a 0 or 1 for each item scored. The pre-and post-test scores were then compared to see if there was any improvement throughout the school year when students participated in SIWI. Pre and post-t-tests were used to analyze differences in the age equivalency and number of correct words on the spelling subtest.

Students made significant gains in their age equivalency, t(51)= -3.649, p=.001, and number of correct words t(51)= -2.743, p=.008. Mean scores for age equivalency increased from 90.75 months (SD=20.44) to 102.65 months (SD=32.94), a gain of 12 months during an 8-month time period. Number of correctly spelled words increased from a mean of 23 words (SD=8.9) to 26 words (SD=10.9). An analysis of each spelling error type was conducted using a one-way ANOVA and showed that the participants demonstrated significantly more PA errors (M= 3.37, SD= 2.81, range 0–12) than any other type of error defined by the MLC coding system. Overall, students who participated in one year of SIWI demonstrated significant gains in their spelling as measured by the spelling subtest of the WJTA-3. Additionally, the study found that students made many more errors based on phonological awareness (PA) than any other error type defined by the MLC.


Deaf, Hard-of-Hearing, Phonological awareness, Spelling.