Depth of reading vocabulary in hearing and hearing-impaired children

Karien M. Coppens*, Agnes Tellings, Ludo Verhoeven, Robert Schreuder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The main point of our study was to examine the vocabulary knowledge of pupils in grades 3-6, and in particular the relative reading vocabulary disadvantage of hearing-impaired pupils. The achievements of 394 pupils with normal hearing and 106 pupils with a hearing impairment were examined on two vocabulary assessment tasks: a lexical decision task and a use decision task. The target words in both tasks represent the vocabulary children should have at the end of primary school. The results showed that most hearing pupils reached this norm, whereas most hearing-impaired pupils did not. In addition, results showed that hearing-impaired pupils not only knew fewer words, but that they also knew them less well. This lack of deeper knowledge remained even when matching hearing and hearing-impaired children on minimal word knowledge. Additionally, comparison of the two tasks demonstrated the efficacy of the lexical decision task as a measure of lexical semantic knowledge.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-477
JournalReading and Writing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Vocabulary
  • Hearing impairment
  • Lexical decision
  • Use decision
  • Reading comprehension

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