Exploring factors influencing grade-level reading proficiency among the hearing impaired learners: a case of a public primary school in Kiambu County, Kenya

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Prof. Jacob Marriote Ngwaru

Second Supervisor/Advisor

Dr. Nipael Mrutu


Institute for Educational Development, East Africa


In primary school, learners should read to grade level, synthesize, explain and analyze what they read for them to be called proficient readers. Yet, according to the US National deaf children's society, 20% of HI learners leave primary school with a reading level at or below second grade. This denies them the opportunity to acquire knowledge and skills because academic content is transmitted through text as they pass through grade levels. Subsequently, they may not benefit from learning and participate fully in public and economic life. In Kenya, a number of studies address reading to grade-level proficiency based on observations of hearing learners but fail to give voice to the HI learners. The aim of this study, in contrast, is to broaden the debate to include these learners who seem marginalized. This study employed a qualitative approach and, intrinsic case study design to explore factors influencing grade-level reading proficiency among the HI learners. Findings were that, among others, disability was the strongest barrier to literacy development making it very difficult for HI learners to read to grade-level proficiency. This study concludes that besides disability itself, the homes and the schools should provide enabling environments that can promote literacy development among the HI learners. This study recommends the need for a country-wide sensitization on the need for a barrier-free literacy environment for HI children because of their disability as way of inclusion in all spheres of their daily lives.

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