Med summary for general release

The Role of The Listening Program in Supporting a Literacy Intervention for Four Moderately to Profoundly Deaf Pupils


Michael Wood

Registration Number 991906

A dissertation submitted in part fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of


MEd Practitioner Enquiry in Education

in the

School of Education

Dissertation Tutor

Dr L Watson

                                                                                    School Of Education

                                                                                               The University of Birmingham

                                                                             25th June 2012


Sincere thanks to Dr Linda Watson for her time and expertise throughout this project. Also to The Catholic Institute for Deaf People (CIDP) for financial assistance to undertake the MEd Program and to ABT technologies for the loan of two programs with bone conduction for the duration of the study.

Table of Contents

Chapter One                            Introduction

Chapter Two                           Literature Review

Chapter Three                         Methodology

Chapter Four                           Results and Discussion

Chapter Five                           Conclusion

Chapter Two: Literature Review

I could not find any research that evaluated the impact that listening to music has on the phonological awareness and auditory processing of hearing impaired children. There are a number of factors which contribute to this, notably the specialised and small nature of the field involved. Given the recent technological developments in cochlear implants, this may be an issue which is explored in the future. The aim of this chapter is to: explore the evidence for the efficacy of the Tomatis Method, the extent to which deaf children acquire phonological awareness, and, how they perform as readers particularly in the context of their hearing peers.

The efficacy of the Listening Program is primarily based on the findings of Dr Tomatis who claimed a link between certain sound frequencies and their effects on functions of the mind and body. The Tomatis Method followed. It is an auditory intervention therapy which takes place in a certified practitioners office or clinic. Up to the 1980’s support for its use was largely anecdotal but subsequent to this a number of studies were undertaken. In a meta-analysis of these,  Gilmor (1999) found that the Tomatis Method had positive effects in linguistic, psychomotor, personal, social adjustment, cognitive and auditory skills of users. A later survey (Ross Swain 2007) looked at the impact of the Tomatis Method on 42 participants and found improvements in short term memory, sequencing, and auditory discrimination. Whilst these are encouraging as a starting point, I could not find a scientifically controlled study using double blind selection of a study and control groups for the Tomatis Method. As a result it is possibly fair to say that its efficacy has yet to be fully established. This caution is highlighted by the American Academy of Audiology who comment:

“Over the past decade there has been interest by professionals in communication disorders, parents, physicians and others in the treatment of autism and other auditory disorders through a system of training called “Auditory Integration Training” …  This treatment has been reported to be successful with people who have dyslexia, learning disabilities, pervasive developmental delays. However, there is a lack of scientific, controlled studies supporting Auditory Integration Training’s  effectiveness (2010).”

The lack of scientifically controlled evidence for the Tomatis Method indicates that its efficacy remains unproven despite a number of small positive studies. It is therefore important to proceed with caution.

A recent report into the effectiveness of educational interventions also highlighted the

need for caution when interventions claim to be able to support many different and diverse needs with the one approach (Keane 2011). The manufacturer of The Listening Program claim that The Listening Program can lead to improvements in twelve area which include; learning, behaviour, reading and attention and  effectiveness is due to the holistic nature of listening to the program.

Phonemes are the units of sound in a word or syllable and there are forty four of these  in the English Language. Phonological awareness can be defined as the ability to hear and manipulate phonemes and syllables.  This shows itself in an ability to blend, isolate, segment, delete and substitute phonemes and syllables within a word (Salter and Robertson 2001). A study about the impact of phonological awareness on the reading skills of deaf children (Leutke-Stahlman and Neilsen 2003) concluded that those with better phonological awareness could read better than their peers.  In an earlier study, Harris and Beech (1998) concluded that whilst some older prelingualy deaf children are able to develop phonological coding (at its most basic the ability to know letter sounds) they do not appear to come to school with implicit phonological awareness and that the gap in reading ability of a hearing child and a deaf child of a similar IQ seems to get bigger over the first two years of reading instruction. This may in part be because phonological awareness is a significant predictor of early reading ability (Shayvitz 2003). It is interesting to note that in a survey conducted eleven years later (Spencer and Tromblin 2009) found that children with cochlear implants could develop phonological awareness at a younger age but   these children needed longer than their hearing contemporaries to become proficient. This may be partially explained by the more widespread implementation and technological advances in implant technology during this time (Yoshinago-Itano et al 2008).  Another possible factor contributing to the positive outcomes of recent cochlear implantation is the earlier intervention programmes that support  implantation (Leigh 2008).

Whilst hearing children typically demonstrate oral language skills that are commensurate with their cognitive abilities, this has traditionally not been the case for deaf children (Yoshinago-Itano et al 2008). The timing of amplification is the crucial factor in the development of oral language.  (Keen 1995  HARPA Test )

“ Speech develops from when a child starts hearing it and not from birth ...Years of Hearing’ (is the key indicator) – measured from when a hearing child is born BUT from when a deaf//hearing impaired child first wears appropriate aids or can hear speech through a cochlear implant “

This observation has been underlined by a recent study into the impact of cochlear implantation on deaf education, by Archbold and Meyer  (2012) who comment that:

“Outcomes from paediatric implantations have surpassed expectations, even of those who were sceptical from the outset.  The major predictor of positive outcomes appears to be early implantation ”

The importance of early amplification was highlighted in research  by Farrar et al (2005) which established that early language development in a sample of hearing children predicted later phonological awareness.

A viseme is the particular facial and mouth configuration of each phoneme. Recognising the different visemes in the English Language, could in theory, help hearing impaired pupils with their phonological awareness and their speech reading.  Yet research into the extent to which speech reading assists hearing impaired children acquire phonological awareness is mixed. McQuarrie and Parilla (2009) found that speech reading does not appear to help hearing impaired children to acquire phonological awareness whilst (Campell 2011) cited in Wall (2012) suggests that this should not be the case as sounds which are similar auditorily  (k/p, m/n, b/t)  have distinct visemes, whilst similar visemes  (p/b/m) are easy to distinguish by sound[1] .

In a recent article (Nunez et al 2009) state that deaf children with the same spelling age as hearing children are unexpectedly weaker at understanding units of meaning in language. These units of meaning are called morphemes. For example, the word “jumped” is made up of two units of meaning or morphemes; “jump” and “ed”,  which is sounded “t”.   Both morphemes combine to give the required meaning.  In the article by Nunez et al, deaf children are:

 “unexpectedly weaker than hearing children at using suffixes in word spelling and thus they have a double disadvantage in learning literacy in comparison to hearing children: they have difficulty in accessing both the sounds and the deep structure of English .”[2] 

Fagan et al (2007) assessed a range of cognitive and sensorimotor processes of deaf children with cochlear implants using tests standardised on hearing children.  They found that the average performance of deaf children on all measures was in the same range as for hearing children with the exception of vocabulary comprehension and working memory both of which were considerably below average. The role of working memory in cognition is being becoming more understood as a contributory factor of cognition (NEPS 2011). Working memory is rather like the pause button of the memory. It is that facility which enables us to hold something in mind whilst we search or evaluate other facts to accompany it (Richards 2011). Reading a new word appears to put a load on the readers working memory. For example, take a simple cvc word such as ‘web’ which an initial reader may encounter for the first time.  If the word is to be successfully read using phonological strategies and subsequently understood by the reader, a number of operations will need to be drawn upon.  Initially, the three phonemes have to be known and retained in the correct order before an attempt at blending and decoding the word can be made. Then, to understand what is being read, the meaning of the decoded word needs to be retrieved either from pre-existing vocabulary or context cues. The role of the working memory in retaining and retrieving information here may be significant.

The reading of deaf children has long been a concern with many studies showing children struggling to attain age appropriate literacy levels (Kyle 2006). Yet Fagan et al (2007) found that “the literacy measures traditionally delayed in deaf children were now within the average range for hearing children.”  Whilst it is still very early days, results from this study indicate that early access to a high quality signal through a cochlear implant may be beginning to give profoundly deaf children the opportunity to obtain age appropriate literacy for the first time. Meyer (2007) cautions against snapshots of deaf literacy development and suggests that what is needed is a longitudinal study which tracks children over time to see if the early promise indicated in some of the recent studies actually stands the test of time. The need for caution highlighted by Meyer has been illustrated by Geers et al (2008) who have undertaken a longitudinal study of reading abilities of cochlear implanted Dutch pupils over time. The findings of this study perhaps cannot be generalised to the wider population due to the breadth of the age of the population in the student sample. Nonetheless, they found that children implanted in the pre-school years achieved reading within the normal levels at 8/9 years of age but when tested again later (at 15/16) reading scores did not keep pace with developments in speech perception or language. This may be in part due to the nature of reading requirements at second level where more subtle reading and language skills such as discerning inference and understanding idiomatic language come into play, and/or possibly the greater impact of the significance of morphemic markers on word understanding as observed by Nunez earlier.

In a meta-analysis of the impact of phonological coding and awareness on reading achievement (Mayberry et al,  2010)found that these are a low to moderate predictor of reading achievement in deaf individuals. Other factors, most notably language ability appear to have a greater influence on reading development. As already discussed this is closely linked with early amplification.

From the discussion above, it appears possible that children with a cochlear implant now seem to have earlier access to phonics and the possibility of developing phonological awareness at a younger age. This may well be a contributory factor in their chances of reaching age appropriate literacy. Nonetheless these findings need to be evaluated within a longitudinal study to record how implanted children read throughout their schooling.  Any discussion of the role of phonological awareness in supporting deaf children’s literacy also needs to be viewed in the context of the key research by Mayberry et al that language ability is still the key predictor of deaf children’s reading ability.

Chapter Three: Methodology

 The first phase of the program was ten weeks of listening in the Christmas term with a mid- point review, and the second phase was ten weeks of listening in the Easter term.  The program was structured in this way in order to work within the school calendar and to give students the opportunity of opting out at the mid-point. 

 The literacy intervention took the form of a number of programs many of which were paper based. The programs used, commencement times, and the number of activities completed are detailed in the table 1 below. They are also fully referenced under a separate heading in the bibliography.

Table 1

Intervention Used


Start date

End date

No Glamour Sentence Structure -picture based sentence Structure

200 paper based activities of progressive complexity starting with noun and verb and ending with noun and negative verb phrase

September 2010

December 2010

Word Shapes to Visualise Sentence Structure

Plastic word shapes to illustrate grammar rules and accompanied the above

September 2010

December 2010

Reading comprehension for 5-8 year olds

200 paper based activities. Each one no more than  one side of A4

September 2010

March 2011.

Not all activities completed

Reading Games for 5-11 year olds

20 games played as a whole class activity

September 2010

April 2011

SRA Reading Laboratory 1A 1998

A box of 144 reading comprehension and reading rules booklets presented on four sides of A5.

Each activity is self-marked by the student and covers approximately 3.5 years of reading progression

September 2010

April 2011

Pupils A, B and C completed one article per day (around 100 during the study). Pupil D completed about 40 due to absences and dealing with longer more complex material.

Dolch Sight Word Reading and Word Recognition program for 5-8 year olds

200 A4 paper based activities

September 2010

December 2010

Wilson Just Words Accelerated Study of Word Structure

Phonics based program using Orton Gillingham approach. 120 lessons of phonics rules of progressive complexity.

January 2011.  During this time we adapted the ISL alphabet which is very visual in nature to support the Wilson Scheme with cued phonics.

April 2011

28 lessons completed on a whole class basis thereafter the lessons got too complex to do in this way.


As previously discussed, The Listening Program claims to be holistic in nature and as such outcomes vary from one individual to another.  I decided to focus the range of outcomes that appeared most likely to be supported by the program (P.I.E Submission 2010), and that may impact most on the listening and literacy of deaf pupils.

The literacy outcomes thought to be the most likely from listening to the program were; auditory processing, sound discrimination. phonological awareness, spelling and word reading. The tests to measure the above outcomes needed to have; external validation (where possible), be readily available to Teachers of the Deaf, be operable in the class context, and acceptable to the students without causing any resistance or testing fatigue. Both the tests for phonological awareness and auditory processing were quite long (40 minutes) so I chose to combine the demands of these with some simpler tests. As a result, the spelling and reading tests needed to be relatively simple to undertake.  For this reason the Graded Word Spelling Test and the Burt Word reading test were selected.  It is understood that the Burt gives just one measure of reading ability (whole word reading skills in single words without any context or visual cues to support them), however as it is a whole word reading test, it does give an indication of how word attack skills from phonological awareness may have developed. [3]

The phonological awareness test (PAT) had a reading fluency component. I also chose to explore the area of reading in the parental interviews. The tests used are listed in tabular form for each pupil at each of the three testing periods (see appendices 1, 2 and 3).

Qualitative data was drawn from the observation log in which daily observations were recorded and from semi-structured interview with parents after the program. Three of the four parents were able to participate in this.

For reasons of classroom organisation one pair was listening and actively engaged with the study, I worked with the other pair. The pupils have complex and diverse special needs and most pupils need one to one tuition, particularly in the key areas of language development and literacy. Traditionally this has been complex to organise, but with the introduction of the program, I was aware that two pupils were being positively and quietly engaged on the program enabling me to spend time working in pairs with the other two.

In particular, I worked alongside two pupils as they worked through an SRA Reading Laboratory (page 15). These are a box of 144 individual readings split up into twelve sections of twelve readings. Each box covers about three and a half to four years of reading progression in a controlled way so that completion of one activity indicates readiness to start the next one (SRA1998).  During this time, pupils would have had the opportunity to complete a maximum of 100 readings (with the exception of Pupil D who missed a lot of time during the study and was working at a slower pace on more complex passages). One hundred SRA readings indicates that these pupils had  exposure to materials that had more than two years of reading development during the study.  The readings were completed in a similar way each time.  I listened to one pupil read their passage while the other child reflected on theirs. Then I worked in the same way with the other individual while the first individual began to tackle their questions. Once the second child finished the passage I started looking at the answers provided by the first child and then swopped back again. Each activity took about 25 minutes (except for pupil A who needed two twenty five minute sessions to complete the activity).

The program manufactures advised that listening should be accompanied with a reflective task rather than something which the pupils may find too cognitively taxing. Similarly pupils were not encouraged to talk as it was thought that this may interfere with their listening (Heath 2010) – if communication took place between the listening pair sign language was used..   Tasks which accompanied the listening included drawing, pattern work, tangrams, jigsaws, threading beads, handwriting practise and more latterly looking at picture books and reference books such as “The Guinness Book of Records”.

This form of action research, where I am undertaking an enquiry into the situation in which I am working directly, may have the advantage that I can see the process from the inside out, however as Robson (2002) comments:

            “some would doubt the feasibility of insiders carrying out any worthwhile.

credible or objective enquiry into a situation in which they are centrally involved (p7)”

This perspective is balanced by others, who suggest that action research pertains directly to a person’s experience in the workplace and so has the potential to impart   benefits for those involved in the research and possibly a wider audience in the work context. (Kemmis and Wilkinson 1998, cited in Robson).  The possible limitations of action research can be ameliorated by being undertaken under external research procedures and protocols whilst being monitored and supported by an external supervisor.

As this research primarily focuses on how four individuals responded to the program, I have  presented the results and analysis under individual headings.  This is followed by a commentary and discussion of how the program appears to have impacted on the class as a whole.

Discussion of tests used:

The background to the tests is presented here. Some of the tests are diagnostic and give a sense of how the pupil is developing in depth and where to support them whereas other are summative in nature and give more of a snapshot in a target area at a certain time.  The discussion of how the pupil performance changed before and after the program is contained in the next chapter.

Differential Screening Test for Processing 2006 (Lingui Systems):

This was the only test I could source that explicitly dealt with the area of auditory and language processing. It works on three levels of processing: acoustic, acoustic-linguistic and linguistic and has been standardised on 509 pupils (www. It comes with a CD and two headphones and is listened to simultaneously by the pupil and teacher. The teacher listens to the pupil’s response and records it on the booklet provided. The test has eight sections. These are: dichotic digits (where two different numbers are presented to both ears simultaneously), temporal patterning, auditory discrimination, phonemic manipulation, antonyms, prosodic interpretation, and language organization. Some of the pupils were more able to complete components of this test at the end of the program than they were at the beginning. This is explored in the results section for each pupil. Whilst the initial responses appear to be encouraging (see chapter four) it is important to reflect at this point that the test is undertaken through headphones and by the end of the program the pupils were much more familiar with this form of listening.  Pupil D was the only pupil who was able to complete the test in its entirety in September.

Sound Discrimination:

 The Ling Sounds (2) (2002) assess discernment of six different phonemes at different frequency levels behind the child’s back (without the possibility of speech reading was used). Results for pupils B and C were encouraging (appendices 2 and 3).

Another sound discrimination test used was Contrast for Auditory and Speech Teaching Test (CAST) (3) Ertmer D (2003) Lingui Systems. This is a diagnostic test and has a pre-test which gives the teacher of the deaf or speech therapist a sense of where to begin any intervention. There are seven levels of progressive complexity to the test. Each level has twenty cards again of progressive complexity and each card is quickly presented five times.  A ninety percent score of correct responses across the level is considered as acceptable to progress to the next section.  The seven sections are; suprasegmental cues (awareness of speech through to recognition of difference in two and three syllable phonemically dissimilar words – laughing/ dinosaur); phonemically dissimilar words (kite and doll); vowel contrasts (such as boot and boat); consonant manner contrasts (sick and chick); consonant voicing contrasts (pack and back); consonant place contrasts (mine/nine); and, final consonants (bush and book).

Phonological Awareness:

The Phonological Awareness and Reading Profile (Robertson and Salter  2001, Lingui Systems) was used. This is a diagnostic test which gives a comprehensive overview of a pupils’: phonological awareness (phonemic blending, segmentation and manipulation), decoding of nonsense words, rapid letter naming and reading fluency.  The test also has a diagnostic spelling element but as this was being covered in the Graded Word Spelling Test (5) this was not administered except for Pupil D (appendices 2 and 3), who appeared to have a significant change in her spelling and I wanted to verify this and possibly get more data to inform my understanding.  All pupils showed some changes in their performance by the mid-point of the program and progress in the area was more marked during the second half of the program. This marked improvement in phonological awareness during the second phase of the study was probably attributable to the introduction of The Wilson Just Word Program of Advanced Word Structure.


The Graded Word Spelling Test (5)  (Hodder Murray 2006) was used:  this version has been standardised on a population of over 3500 pupils ranging from six to twenty five years old. It gives a spelling age and is based on how many words of progressive complexity the pupil can spell accurately.

 Word reading:

The Burt word reading test (6) was standardised in 1974. Although this is possibly now a comparatively old test it gives a quick and consistent measure of word reading.

Sight word reading:

The number of sight word flash cards instantly read was recorded. The Dolch sight words were presented and the number of words instantly read were recorded at the beginning, middle and end of the program. Pupils A, B and C showed a dramatic increase in this area. It is most probable that this was a result of the sight word program that every pupil completed for their homework over the term and the individual literacy support they received. Pupil D knew her sight words already but may have benefited from the sight word spelling activities.

Chapter Four:  Results and Discussion

To make the dissertation more accessible, most of the data has been included in the appendices. This includes; class tables before, during and after the program and a write up of the observational diary for each child (kept during the research) and transcripts of the parent interviews.

This chapter will draw on the test data included in the appendices for each  child.  From this, and in the light to of the reflections on the nature of this research I am able to draw some tentative suggestions about how the program may have impacted on individual children’s literacy development. The discussion will then be broadened out to look at the class as a whole and to address the two other questions posed in the methodology section. These are:

  1.           Can The Listening Program be used with children who have post aural hearing aids and cochlear implants?
  2.           How does using the program impact on my teaching in the class?

The literacy intervention has been outlined in a table on pages 14 and 15 of the methodology section. As has already been mentioned I was able to work in pairs with pupils while the remainder of the class were engaged in the study. This amounted to over fifty hours of intensive work on direct literacy instruction per pupil in addition to the other activities listed.   In December 2010 I attended a three day in-service course in introducing the Wilson Program to my class.  This has not been used with hearing impaired pupils outside of the USA.   After quite a quick start we worked through the program at a slower pace than scheduled. Nonetheless, I was surprised how quickly the pupils acquired new phonic rules, bearing in mind that only one of the pupils  knew their letter sounds in September.  I feel that the listening that the class did in the first term may have laid the foundation for the successful introduction of an auditory based approach to reading in the second term.

Having explored how the program appears to have impacted on individuals in the class, two questions remain to be answered.   These are:

  • Can The Listening Program be used with children who have post aural hearing aids and cochlear implants?

The study has shown that the program can be used with children with post aural hearing aids.   Giving pupils the freedom as to whether to leave the aids on or take them off seems to be best practice.  For some children it may be necessary to unlock the volume of the iPod if they are going to get full access to the program.  Pupils with Cochlear implants do not appear to benefit from the bone conduction element of the program.  This was confirmed in conversations with audiologists and from the observational log of one pupil who eventually chose to listen without bone conduction.

  • How does the program impact on my teaching within the class?

The period of the study was a positive experience for me, as the teacher and for the pupils. They all wanted to continue with the program at the half way stage and would often remind me about the program when I appeared to have forgotten about their listening. At the individual level it has been complex to show a direct link between use of the program and individual pupil outcomes and this was anticipated from the outset.  Nonetheless,  some changes to pupil’s phonological awareness, spelling and language processing seem to be supported by the program.  It is also possible that listening to the program during the first term helped to lay the groundwork for the successful implementation of The Wilson Just Word Reading and Spelling Program in the second term.   This would not in my opinion have been a realistic goal for three of the four pupils previously.

There was also a sense that the pupils concentration, either during listening to the program or soon after it was positively impacted. This is seen in comments by the pupils themselves Pupil B, (appendice 5 week 13) and Pupil D, (appendice 9 concluding pupil comments).    Both made positive comments concerning their concentration.  Pupil C also said that , “ it was easier to keep in the lines while she was listening” (appendice 7 week 21).” 

On reflection,   I would certainly use the program again in a literacy intervention with hearing impaired pupils.    This observation seems to be supported by the comments of parents who wanted their daughters to continue to listen to the program once the study was over.

Chapter 5:  Conclusions

Reflections on the Research Method

Establishing a causal link between the program, the literacy intervention and the performance in the tests has been complex. Each pupil was exposed to a number of variable factors over the twenty five week research period. The length of the research period (September 2010 to April 2011) also means that each pupil matured both personally and educationally during this time.  This form of research does not take place in a vacuum (MacCracken 2007) and pupils are exposed to a host of influences and stimulus outside of the school environment.

 As the study progressed it became clear that rather than just evaluating the program in isolation, I was trying to assess its role in conjunction with some other teaching programs in supporting the literacy development of the pupils in my class.  As a result it was decided to refocus the study to take account of this.   It is interesting to observe that one of the main reasons for refocusing the study stemmed from the program itself, which through its use, enabled me to spend time explicitly teaching literacy individually and in pairs particularly as other pupils were productively and quietly focused and listening to the program. Clearly, action research is not static, and what started off as a study to explore the impact of The Listening Program on individual pupils evolved more into a study of how The Listening Program supported individual literacy development and how it impacted on my role.. In this regard there appears to have been some modest and encouraging results for each pupil that have been outlined in the above section (Chapter Four).

Although beyond the objectives of this study some areas emerged which may be worth exploring in the future.   These include:  the possible impact of working memory on the phonological awareness of deaf children and the role The Listening Program may have in supporting working memory.

The program and the period of the study enabled me to have an opportunity for closer liaison and contact with the parents of the pupils. This in itself may have had a positive effect on the outcome of the study. In a recent article (Powers 2012) the impact of the role of parents was considered to be the key factor in helping to determine positive educational outcomes for hearing impaired children. Teachers of the Deaf were encouraged to engage with parents at a deep level to help improve pupil outcomes.

The working environment fostered by the program helped to create a very quiet and settled atmosphere for everybody and this was commented on by different colleagues on three separate occasions. (appendice 5: week 2, week  13, and week 19).  Additionally, young children and children with additional  needs often thrive in a class where there is a high level of routine and predictability for them (Ware 2000).  For the period of the study, the need to implement the program meant that the first class (from 9:10 – 10:45) had much the same format each day.  This entailed, ten minutes of oral language followed by review of the previous night’s homework and preparation for the homework for that night. Then the first listening pairs would complete their listening while the SRA laboratory (page 15) was completed with the other two. After half an hour the tasks and the pairs were rotated. This level of highly structured work was scheduled so that the class would be free to complete other curricula areas after the first session and to some extent fulfil the requirements of undertaking the study.  An indirect consequence of the program for me and the pupils was that it possibly impacted on my teaching by imposing the routine on the class.  This may well have indirectly supported the outcome of the study and the dynamics of the class in an unexpected way.  

As the program ran,  I felt that the practice and presence of this daily listening was beginning to shift the emphasis within the pupils more and more to listening and  possibly an auditory-oral approach to communication. To some extent my role as teacher followed their lead and their role as pupils followed mine and it gradually became more of a speaking and listening class. My communicational style with the pupils possibly changed its emphasis as a result,  moving through a sign supported oral approach initially through to a cued phonics (which we adapted from ISL to accompany The Wilson Reading Scheme) and finally to a natural oral approach now (Gregory and Watson 1998). This has been gradual and has felt right.    It is possibly an example of how one change in emphasis in a key area such as listening for hearing impaired pupils, can have a knock on consequence for how they learn.  It is possible also that learning and reflecting on new approaches can make a teacher question their role, and how they can support pupils.


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Mayberry R, Giudice A, Lieberman A (2010). Reading Achievement in Relation to Phonological Coding and Awareness in Deaf Readers: A Meta-analysis. Oxford University Press

Mayer C (2007). What Really matters in the Early Literacy Development of Deaf Children. Oxford University Press

Mayer C. (2010). Language and Literacy Development in Children with a Hearing Loss. Seminar paper from a full day seminar supported by SESS 2010-08-20. Limerick, Ireland

Mc Cann A, Sennheisseur. Use of headphones with post aural hearing aid query – 8th September 2010. Personal email (10th September)

McCracken W, Turner O (2012) Deaf Children with Complex Needs: Parental Experience of Access to Cochlear Implants and Ongoing Support. Deafness and Education Internation Vol 14 Number 1

Mc Quarrie L,  Parrila R. (2009).  Phonological Representations in Deaf Children: rethinking the “Functional Equivalence” Hypothesis. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education. 14:2 

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P.I.E 4.  You and Your Topic. (2008). School of Education, The University of Birmingham.

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Richards G (2011). The Source for Processing Disorders. Lingui Systems

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Salter W and Robertson C (2001) The Phonological Awareness and Reading Profile. Lingui Systems

Shayvitz S (2003) Overcoming Dyslexia: A new and Complete Science Based Program for Reading Problems at any Level.  Random House

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 Interventions Used

Dolch Sight Word Flashcards (Remedia Publications)

Dolch Sight Word Reading and Word Recognition Program for 5-8 Years Old. Lingui Systems

 The Listening  Program with Bone Conduction. (Advanced Brain Technologies 2006)

Picture Based Sentence Structure.  Gustafson M (2003) Lingui Systems

Reading Comprehension for at Risk Readers. Koepke H (2002) Lingui Systems

Reading Games. Hanrahan A and Mc  Sweeney ( (2004) Lingui Systems

SRA Reading laboratory 1A. Mc Graw Hill (1998)

Wilson Just Word Accelerated Study of Word Structure (2006)

Word Shapes to Visualise Sentence Structure(2003). ARK. Institute of Learning. Tacoma, USA


Burt Word Reading Test (1974)

Contrasts for auditory and Speech Teaching (CAST) Ertmer D (2003). Lingui Systems

Differential Screening Test for Auditory Processing (2006) Lingui Systems

Drawaperson Test (Harris) 1963

Graded Word Reading Test (2006) Hodder Murray

Ling Sounds for Speech Discrimination(2002)

Phonological Awareness and Reading Profile. Robertson and Salter (2001) Lingui Systems

2. In practice from the study, it appears that one of the pupils in the study does supplement her listening with speech reading (appendice 7) and it is quite possible that for her development of her listening may reinforce her listening and vice versa.

[2] This seems to be the experience of pupil D who seemed to have made quite significant gains in her spelling over a short space of time (appendices 2 and 3) and on reflection this may have been supported by consistent listening followed by subsequently explicit teaching of morphemic structure with the “Wilson Just  Word Program of Accelerated Word Structure”.

[3] If the role of the test were to evaluate the outcome of the literacy intervention itself rather  than  the impact of  The Listening Program on the literacy intervention, I would also have included explicit tests of reading comprehension and reading fluency, as it has been suggested that these are the key outcomes to monitor in a literacy intervention (Shayvitz 2003).  The phonological awareness test does have a reading fluency component which has been commented on for Pupil A.  The SRA reading laboratories are essentially a reading comprehension exercise so I was getting that feedback informally through the task.

Wilson Reference Guide

reference guide

Wilson Instructor Textbook

wilson text book