Most research on reading skill acquisition in deaf individuals has been conducted from the perspective of a hearing child learning to read. This approach may limit our understanding of how a deaf child approaches the task of learning to read and successfully acquires reading skills. An alternative approach is to consider how the cognitive skills that a deaf child brings to the reading task may influence the route by which he or she achieves reading fluency. A review of the literature on visual spatial attention suggests that deaf individuals are more distracted by visual information in the parafovea and periphery. We discuss how this may have an influence upon the perceptual processing of written text in deaf students.