DOI: 10.1093/deafed/enae005 ISSN: 1081-4159

The effect of retrieval practice on vocabulary learning for DHH children

Casey K Reimer, Heather Grantham, Andrew C Butler
  • Speech and Hearing
  • Education


On average, deaf and hard-of-hearing (DHH) children have difficulty developing expressive spoken vocabulary comparable to hearing peers. Yet, there are no evidence-based practices to guide classroom instruction for teachers of the deaf. Retrieval practice—a robust learning strategy—has been shown to improve children’s retention of vocabulary, but it has not been investigated with DHH children who use listening and spoken language. The present study examined whether DHH children benefit from using retrieval practice to learn new vocabulary. Sixteen DHH children (in the age range of 5.0–8.11 years) were taught a set of new vocabulary words using retrieval practice or repeated exposure. A recall test was administered two days later. Results showed that DHH children were twice as likely to recall a word taught through retrieval practice than exposure (OR = 2.01, p = .02). Presence of an additional diagnosis and number of practice trials were also significant predicting factors of vocabulary learning.

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