Literacy and the deaf individual : what are we going to do about it?
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Do you find it acceptable for students to graduate high school with a third grade literacy level? Of course not! Unfortunately, the average deaf and hard of hearing student graduates with little more than the literacy skills of a nine-year old. Although this fact is well known, not much is happening to change it. This paper covers the following topics: history of deaf education, definition of literacy, why literacy is important, Deaf Culture", literacy in the workplace, why literacy levels are so low, and what we can do about it? Research indicates that literacy levels of deaf and hard of hearing students are so low due to a combination of factors. Three areas that this paper focuses on are: cycle of low expectations, poor preparation for teachers, and a lack of complete access to a consistent language base. Some suggestions as to what we can do about poor literacy skills are discussed in direct relation to these problems. First, deaf education has to be held to the same standards as regular education. Secondly, teacher preparation programs require serious revamping. Finally, deaf education has to move from the "deficit model" to the "difference model" approach to teaching.