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Helping your deaf child with reading and writing

Deaf children can learn to read and write as well as hearing children and you play a key role in helping this to happen. Studies tell us that children who enjoy reading and writing do better in school. As your child becomes older, they will use these skills to read and write fluently, to learn, navigate the world successfully and become literate.

Don’t worry about not knowing how to do things the same way as your child’s teacher. Ask your child or your child’s school to explain how they’re helping your child with reading and writing and ask what you can do at home to support them. The National Curriculums for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland give more information about what your child is being taught at school and how you can support them.

We also have lots of information on our website on how to support your child’s learning.

Online learning

Your child will may be learning and relaxing online frequently so this is a great way for them to practise their reading. If they’re using the internet, check that the websites are appropriate for their age and language level. You can find out more about how to keep your child safe online here. When your child is researching a topic they might need some help navigating around different websites. Show them how to choose links from a search engine and how to find different types of information. It’s also important to make sure that your child can access the online content. You can find more information on learning new skills and information at home here.   


Children are tested on their literacy skills at different times throughout primary school. They shouldn’t feel anxious or pressured and tests and assessments must take your child’s learning and communication needs into account.  Your school will keep you informed about when and how these tests will be administered. If you have concerns contact the school and ask them what they can do to support your child. You can find out more school assessments on the School Run website.

Top facts

1. Children need language to be able to read and write. Research tells us that children make links between their chosen language and the written word. The more face-to-face language a deaf child experiences, the more ready they are to learn to read and write. It doesn’t matter which language this is and it doesn’t have to be the language they’re learning to read and write in. We have more information about developing your child’s language and communication.

2. Book sharing from birth is the best way of developing a lifelong love of reading. Sharing a book with, or reading to your child everyday not only helps your child practice all the skills they need to be able to learn to read but it also helps with bonding, creativity and supports self-esteem. Deaf children who enjoy reading and writing are much more likely to practice it and be successful. You can find some top tips on how to share books with your deaf child on the Book Trust website.

3. Children need to lots of opportunities to learn about how language looks and sounds before they can learn about phonics. Phonics are the individual sounds that make up words. Making noises, identifying everyday sounds, paying attention to lip patterns, songs, rhymes, stories are all great ways of building early listening and attention skills. You can find out more about how to help children develop these skills on the government website. We also have plenty of information about deaf children and phonics.

4. The more words children know the more they will understand what they’re reading and the easier they will find it to record ideas and information. Deaf children need lots of opportunities to explore new vocabulary and phrases. You can find out more about how to help your child with vocabulary on our pages about learning new information and skills.

5. Children who develop fluency in handwriting or typing, and spelling are more able to think about the content of their writing. These children will find it easier to structure and present information and ideas as they get older.

6. Reading and writing gives children a window into the world. Giving children a lots of different language and literacy experiences helps them to develop their language, their imagination and helps them to understand the world and how others think and feel. The Education Endowment Foundation have some great ideas on how to get your child reading and writing and they also have some tips for older children too.

You can find out more about helping your child with their reading and writing at different stages on the pages below: