About Orange County Deaf Literacy Project
Our mission is to promote literacy and academic success among Deaf and Hard of Hearing students in Orange County.
In Orange County, there are over 300 Deaf and Hard of Hearing students. These students are served by 28 school districts county‐wide.
Nationwide, the average Deaf high school student will graduate with a 4th grade reading level. English, as a spoken language, is acquired through auditory means. Deaf children acquire language through visual means. Research shows that 90-95% of all Deaf children are born to hearing parents. Studies show that the more children are exposed to the printed word, the more readily they will acquire English. Research supports the widely-held contention that reading every day helps children (whether Deaf or hearing) develop literacy skills and succeed in school.
In order to prepare Deaf and hard of hearing students to face the challenges they will encounter after they finish school and join the workplace, our Project seeks to provide books, reading materials, supplemental educational materials, new curricula, experiences, incentives and scholarships to students through existing programs.
The Project hopes that over the long term, by increasing efforts to promote literacy in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing student community, it can raise reading scores county‐wide. Standardized test scores that measure reading comprehension are also, in some cases, the determining factor as to whether a Deaf student receives financial assistance to go to college. Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) is a government organization that may pay for postsecondary schooling for Deaf students. However, funding is partially based on minimum reading level requirements. Therefore, increasing the reading scores of Deaf students throughout the county will impact the ability of this community to seek higher education.
The Project is governed by an advisory board consisting of both hearing and Deaf professionals who serve the Deaf community. The Project’s fiscal sponsor is Charitable Ventures of Orange County.