Many studies have expounded on the complexity of word knowledge and the amalgam of vocabulary development skills that are critically important in developing literacy skills. Research by Furth (1966), Walter (1978), Hanson (1982), Quigley and Paul (1984), King and Quigley (1985), Moores (1987), Marschark and Harris (1996), and countless others has shown a significant lag in reading development and word knowledge of deaf readers, attributable to a wide variety of causes.
More recently, a number of studies, such as Davey and King (1990) and Kelly (1993, 1996), have directly targeted the importance of morphemes and inflections in increasing word knowledge skills with deaf readers. Gaustad and Paul (1998) have further emphasized morpheme skill development and have proposed that teaching specific strategies to help analyze morphemes may greatly enhance deaf readers' general word knowledge of English (Paul, 1998).
These researchers have not overlooked the many other skills involved in developing word knowledge, but rather have recognized the importance of morphological awareness in developing word knowledge. Gaustad (2000) and Gaustad, Kelly, Payne, and Lylak (2002) have documented the performance level of deaf subjects in tasks of morphographic analysis in word knowledge tests.
Within the framework of the aforementioned research, this module is designed to help ameliorate the more generalized word knowledge problems of deaf readers by providing specific practice within a documented problem area. Morphographic analysis is just one word attack skill that can help a great number of deaf students strengthen their own word knowledge and reading comprehension.