Timely Topics in Literacy Instruction for Deaf Students

Improving reading and writing outcomes for deaf students is an ongoing focus for educators and other professionals in our field – even at a time when advances in hearing technologies have allowed for significant gains in many areas of language and literacy development.


  • Thursday, 12 September, 2019 - Tuesday, 31 December, 2019
    9:00 am - 12:00 am
Course Code:   CPE19LIDS

Course Information

Improving reading and writing outcomes for deaf students is an ongoing focus for educators and other professionals in our field – even at a time when advances in hearing technologies have allowed for significant gains in many areas of language and literacy development. This raises questions as to which aspects of literacy instruction warrant our attention in the context of 2019. In this workshop, we will address two topics that are informed by the current research evidence base. The focus of the first half of the workshop will be on Theory of Mind (ToM), the nature and importance of this construct, and how it can be identified and developed through reading and writing instruction. In the second half of the workshop, the focus will be on vocabulary instruction and development as this has been shown to be an area of weakness across the range of deaf learners. For both topics, examples from deaf students will be used as the basis for our discussion. Practical strategies, approaches, and resources from the primary years through high school will also be presented and described.


Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe the nature of Theory of Mind (ToM) and its relationship to language development
  2. Identify evidence of ToM in written language
  3. Learn how to use reading and writing instruction to develop ToM
  4. Identify the gaps in vocabulary development that are informed by the current evidence base
  5. Develop instructional strategies to support vocabulary development across a range of deaf learners







Attending Timely Topics in Literacy Instruction for Deaf Students will contribute 6 hours of NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) Registered PD addressing 1.5,1.6,2.5,5.1,6.2,.6.3, 7.4 from the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers towards maintaining Proficient Teacher Accreditation in NSW.









This course has been approved by AG Bell Academy for Listening and Spoken Language to offer LSLS™ 6 CEUs.


  • Dr. Connie Mayer
    Dr. Connie Mayer, EdD, OCT Professor, York University, Toronto Honorary Professor, HCD/Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, University of Manchester Dr. Mayer is a Professor in the Faculty of Education at York University in Toronto and academic co-ordinator of the Teacher Preparation Program in the Education of Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) students. Prior to coming to York, Dr. Mayer worked for more than twenty years as a consultant, administrator and teacher of deaf students from preschool through postsecondary across the range of communication settings. She is an Associate Editor for the Volta Review, a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, the American Annals of the Deaf and the Reading Research Quarterly, and the Advisory Council of the Central Institute for the Deaf. Her research focuses on language and literacy development in deaf learners, early literacy and early intervention, cochlear implantation, bilingualism, and models of teacher education. In 2016 she was awarded the Sister Mary Delaney Lifetime Achievement Award in recogntion of her work in teaching, research and service in the preparation of teachers of DHH students by the American College Educators of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. In 2017 she was recognized as a Research Leader at York University, and most recently was awarded an Honorary Professorship in the Division of Human Communication, Development and Hearing at the University of Manchester in the UK. Current projects include investigations of Theory of Mind in the written language of deaf learners, and a 3-year SSHRC funded study to update the evidence base with respect to the literacy outcomes of deaf students.



361-365 North Rocks Road, North Rocks, New South Wales, 2151, Australia


North Rocks, Sydney, Australia

Sydney is located on Australia’s south-east coast. With an approximate population of 4.5 million in the Sydney metropolitan area the city is the largest municipality in Australia. Sydney is easily accessible by air, rail and road networks from other Australian cities.

Located approximately 26 km north-west of the city centre, Renwick Centre is accessible via private and public transport to metropolitan areas such as Epping, Parramatta, Hornsby and the city.

North Rocks is a suburban area of Sydney and is the home of the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children since 1961.

Public Transport

There are several public transport options for getting to and from the Renwick Centre within the Sydney metropolitan area.


Cityrail train stations are located in Epping (6 km away) and Parramatta (7km away) and have connecting bus services (refer to Buses section below) to the Centre.

Epping train station is on the Northern, Newcastle and Central Coast lines with a journey time of approximately 30 minutes to the city (Central, Town Hall and Wynyard stations) and 20 minutes to Strathfield or Hornsby stations.

Parramatta train station offers frequent services to the city (about 40 minutes of travel time) and is located on the Western, Cumberland and Blue Mountains lines.

Both stations are wheelchair accessible.


There is a bus stop directly outside the RIDBC campus – services to Epping and Macquarie Centre – and another across the road outside the Westfield Shopping Centre for services to Parramatta and Blacktown. For latest info on these routes, please visit the Sydney Buses website.

Route Destination Wheelchair Accessible
549 Epping Most
546 Epping via Carlingford Most
546/549 Parramatta Most
630 Macquarie Centre No
630 Blacktown No
610/619* City Few
610/619* Rouse Hill Few

* Access to these bus services is from the M2 motorway at Barclay Road bus stop, a 20 minute walk (1.4 km) from the Centre.

Sydney Airport

Sydney Airport has domestic and international terminals and is approximately 35 km south-east of the Renwick Centre.

Cityrail train stations are located within the domestic and international terminals. To get to the centre, you will need to change trains at Central to an Epping or Parramatta service and then either take a taxi or bus the remaining distance to the centre. Journey time by public transport is approximately 90-120 minutes.


Companies providing a taxi service in the Sydney area include Premier Cabs (Phone: 13 10 17), Silver Service (Phone: 133 100), Taxis Combined (Phone: 8332 8888) and RSL Cabs (Phone: 132 211).


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