Lederberg and Easterbrooks to Lead $10 Million Research Project To Improve Reading in Children who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing

College of Education Professors Amy Lederberg and Susan Easterbrooks have been awarded a $10 million grant to create the first national research center aimed at dramatically improving reading for children who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The grant from the National Center for Special Education Research of the Institute of Education Sciences, the research arm of the U.S. Department of Education, will have a major impact on curriculum development for and assessment of children who are deaf or hard of hearing. It will fund a team of researchers whose work will lead to a better understanding of the way students who are deaf and hard of hearing learn, and the creation of intervention models that can be replicated in schools nationwide.

“The center’s goals are two-fold,” Easterbrooks said. “We want to identify both child and instructional factors that affect reading growth and develop individualized interventions that are specifically designed for deaf and hard of hearing struggling readers.”

The grant will provide funding to create the National Research and Development Center for Literacy and Deafness, the first of its kind to focus on children who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The researchers will conduct a five-year interdisciplinary study to determine how deaf or hard of hearing children learn to read and to develop interventions focused on improving reading outcomes from kindergarten to second grade. In addition to engaging in research and curriculum development, the center will provide national leadership activities for professionals interested in improving the lives of children who are deaf or hard of hearing.