The literature which describes the impact of even very mild conductive hearing losses on child development seems to point in one direction only. The first strand of exploration concerned the impact of deafness on the social context of child development. The impact of more severe, sensori-neural hearing losses on development can be devastating. The reading battery devised shows that deaf children utilize alternative information sources in text and use 'top-down' strategies with a heavy pragmatic basis. Teachers should always ask themselves why they want to test a child, what skills they would like to reveal, and whether more informal observations of children as they read authentic materials will do the job just as effectively as a standardized test. The model of language study from Crystal gives a useful breakdown into the areas of sound, syntax and meaning.