Journal Article

Using Silent Motion Pictures to Teach Complex Syntax to Adult Deaf Readers

Leonard P. Kelly

in The Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education

Volume 3, issue 3, pages 217-230
Published in print January 1998 | ISSN: 1081-4159
Published online January 1998 | e-ISSN: 1465-7325 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordjournals.deafed.a014352
Using Silent Motion Pictures to Teach Complex Syntax to Adult Deaf Readers

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This research tested whether silent motion pictures could be a source of contexts that fostered comprehension of relative clause and passive voice sentences during reading. These two syntactic structures are chronically difficult for some deaf readers. According to the instructional strategy, while subjects watched silent comedy stories, the video display intermittently focused attention on short segments of action and then called for a decision regarding which of two sentences printed in a workbook described the action segment. After this, a display on the video screen provided feedback on the accuracy of the decision. If successful here, this approach might be applied to other areas of competence in order to elevate the generally low level of reading performance by many deaf students. The study applied a single subject design in order to measure sentence comprehension accuracy before and following use of the materials. The computerized testing procedure also measured sentence reading time, an index of attention use. Thus, these data allowed an examination of whether any increases in comprehension were associated with slower, more laborious rates of reading. The instructional approach was an indirect one sharing multiple aspects of whole language methodology, and the sample included deaf subjects at a variety of reading ability levels. This permitted examination of whether an indirect instructional approach could be successful with readers demonstrating relatively low reading ability. The central research question of the study was the following: “Can this instructional method be effective with deaf readers?”

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Subjects: Education ; Linguistics ; Teaching of Specific Groups and Special Educational Needs

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