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Theory of Mind, Reading Metaknowledge and Reading Comprehension in Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students

This presentation focuses on the relationship between, and the significance of Theory of Mind skills and reading metaknowledge skills on reading comprehension skills.
A teacher reading to a group of children with hearing loss

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The term Theory of Mind (ToM) first coined in the 1970’s, is sometimes referred to as mindreading. ToM is the ability to step outside of one’s experiences and use information to work out what another person is thinking. ToM can also be described as an understanding of self and others in terms of beliefs, desires and intentions essential to wellbeing. It is a complex cognitive ability often catergorised as a metacognitive process, that is governed by mental states and emotions or beliefs, intentions, memories and desires. ToM requires an individual to think about thinking and to understand that at times, their beliefs are falsely guided by mistaken perceptions. Some studies have shown that ToM supports, and even predicts language development but until recently there has been little research to support a relationship between ToM skills and reading comprehension skills, particularly in DHH children.

Another metacognitive process which to date has been under researched, is reading metaknowledge skills. Readers use reading metaknowledge skills to monitor their comprehension, or check for, regulate and monitor their understanding of text content and to resolve problems such as the meaning of words and concepts. Using reading metaknowledge skills enables readers to think about their reading and ascertain what is explicitly stated and when they need to infer information. When a reader becomes aware that not all the knowledge they need to know is provided in the text, they need to link their prior knowledge with what they are currently reading to make sense of the text. The ability to regulate and monitor understanding of text content and to resolve comprehension issues, has been shown to impact reading comprehension skills and is particularly pertinent for DHH children experiencing reading difficulties.

This presentation focusses on the relationship between, and the significance of Theory of Mind skills and reading metaknowledge skills on reading comprehension skills.

The presentation aims to:

  • present the current evidence regarding the connection between ToM, reading metaknowledge and reading comprehension
  • clarify and expand participants understanding of Theory of Mind (ToM) and provide an opportunity to learn about the tasks used to test ToM skills
  • explore the importance of reading metaknowledge skills and introduce a simple tool for monitoring these skills
  • develop an understanding of the importance of emotional state terms and mental state words in student’s vocabulary
  • develop an awareness of interventions which can be used to promote ToM and metaknowledge skills
  • develop strategies to build student’s ToM skills and reading metaknowledge skills during teaching sessions.

This event has been accredited by the AG Bell Academy for Listening and Spoken Language for 6 CEUs. Complete the survey at the end of the course to gain the CEU request form.



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