CISLL Publications

Author ORCID Identifier

Lindsay Harris:

Document Type


Publication Title

Reading and Writing


US students who are blind or have visual impairments do not read at the level of a third-grader with typical sight until, on average, halfway through the seventh grade. As a first step toward narrowing that gap, we investigated levels of linguistic awareness among teachers of students who are blind or visually impaired (TSBVIs) because research with general education teachers has demonstrated a link between teacher linguistic awareness and student literacy outcomes. We also examined the accuracy of dyslexia beliefs among TSBVIs and whether TSBVI linguistic aware- ness and dyslexia beliefs are associated with training and experience variables. A survey of licensed or certified TSBVIs (N=236) in the US revealed that TSBVIs’ understanding of linguistic concepts was comparable to that of educators in previous studies, and TSBVIs’ overall beliefs about dyslexia were more accurate than those of other educators. Linguistic awareness was not associated with training and experience variables, suggesting linguistic awareness is not a focus of reading courses offered to preservice TSBVIs and they do not acquire it in the field. Master’s degree attainment was significantly related to the overall accuracy of TSBVIs’ dyslexia beliefs and years of experience working as a TSBVI was marginally associated with the overall accuracy of TSBVIs’ dyslexia beliefs. Only years of experience diminished the misconception that dyslexia is a visual disorder. Because TSBVIs did not appear to know less about linguistic concepts and dyslexia than other educators, the reading achievement gap between students with visual impairments and students with typical sight is unlikely to be attributable to underdeveloped TSBVI knowledge.


Publication Date



Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Language and Literature| Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology, and Foundations (LEPF)

Special Interest Group

Diversity and Language Processing