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Boise teacher helps deaf and hard of hearing students overcome barriers

The technique is still in its beginning stages in Holley's classroom, but it's already showing a lot of promise (CBS 2 Photo).

A Boise teacher has come up with a fun, effective way to help break down the barriers that often hold deaf and hard of hearing students back in the classroom — giving them the same opportunities as their peers.

Pamela Holley is a teacher of deaf and hard of hearing students at Amity Elementary in Boise.

"They don't hear all the sounds we hear," said Pamela Holley. "So, they don't learn to read and write at the same speed that normal hearing people do."

Hard of hearing students on average, according to Holley, graduate from high school at a fifth-grade reading level.

It's a destiny that Holley said she wasn't okay with just accepting, so she researched new ways to help these students move beyond the obstacles they face. Holley discovered a method called visual phonics, associating shapes to sounds.

The technique is still in its beginning stages in Holley's classroom, but it's already showing a lot of promise.

"It's in the first couple weeks that we've employed it and I've already seen an improvement in some of their spelling tests and their reading," said Holley. "I am encouraged to keep using it and hopefully we will get them past that glass ceiling. We will burst it through!"

As the students become ready, they will begin sitting in on more classes with the rest of their peers.

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