Many studies support sign language as an effective tool for teaching hearing kids to read.


Methodology

Language is processed in the left side of the brain while visual images, such as those used in sign language, are processed in the right side of the brain. Activating both sides of the brain, simultaneously, is an extremely powerful learning tool.


Research Studies*

Gesturing can influence a child’s cognitive state.

When children gesture they are able to communicate knowledge that they would otherwise not be able to express. As a result, gesturing can influence a child’s cognitive state.

Reference: Goldin-Meadow, S. (2004). Gesture's Role in the Learning Process. Theory Into Practice. doi:10.1207/s15430421tip4304_10

Gesturing creates additional neural pathways.

Children who gesture, create additional neural pathways for memory.

Reference: Goldin-Meadow S. (2009). How Gesture Promotes Learning Throughout Childhood. Child Development Perspectives. doi:10.1111/j.1750-8606.2009.00088.x

Sign Language aids in word recognition.

Sign Language is a multi sensory technique that aids in word recognition.

Reference: Hafer,  J.C., & Wilson, R.M. (1986). Signing for reading success. Washington, DC: Kendall Green Publications/Gallaudet College Press.

The international reading association recognizes the benefits of sign language.

The international reading association recognized the benefits of sign language and began recommending sign language as a reading aid for hearing children.

Reference: Hafer, J.C., & Wilson, R.M. (1996). Come sign with us. Washington D.C.: Clerc Books

Signing strongly influences future reading abilities.

Literature indicated that children’s familiarity with letter identification, phonemes and speech sounds strongly influence their future reading abilities.

Reference: Hafer, J.C., & Wilson, R.M. (1996). Come sign with us. Washington D.C.: Clerc Books

Sign language uses the visual-spatial part of your brain.

Sign language is a visual language which uses the visual-spatial part of your brain. Coincidentally, this is the same part of the brain that is responsible for reading.

Reference: Daniels, M. (2001). Dancing With Words: Signing for Hearing Children’s Literacy. Westport, CT: Bergin & Garvey

Literacy development starts early in life.

Literacy development starts early in life and is highly correlated with school achievement.

Reference: Daniels, M. (2001).National Institute for Early Education Research. (2006). Pre-school policy brief (Issue 10).

Teaching sign language to hearing children...

Teaching sign language to hearing children may make it easier for them to learn to read.

Reference: Vernon, M., Coley, J.D., & DuBois, J.H. (1980). Using Sign Language to Remediate Severe Reading Problems. Journal of Learning Disabilities. doi:10.1177/002221948001300408

Babies exposed to sign language yielded an increased language skill level.

Susan Goodwyn and Linda Acredolo followed babies 11 through 36 months, and followed up when these same babies were 8 yrs old.

Their study results yielded increased language skill level for the babies exposed to sign language. The advantage increased over time, eventually, resulted in higher IQ scores measured at age 8.

Reference: Acredolo, L. and S. Goodwyn, The long-term impact of symbolic gesturing during infancy on IQ at age 8, in International Society for Infant Studies, 2000: Brighton, U.K.

Children in pre-k who were presented with sign language instruction scored significantly higher.

Children in pre-k who were presented with sign language instruction scored significantly higher on the Peabody Picture Vocabulary test than students who did not learn sign language.

These results indicate that when children are simultaneously presented with words orally, kinesthetically and visually, their language development is greatly enhanced.

Reference: Daniels, M. (2001). Dancing With Words: Signing for Hearing Children’s Literacy. Westport, CT: Bergin & Garvey

Children who had instruction using sign language had increased scores which remained over time.

Children who had instruction using sign language were tested later, and the benefits and increased scores remained over time, even after instruction had ceased.

This shows the power of sign language when included in early childhood education.

Reference: Daniels, M. (2001). Dancing With Words: Signing for Hearing Children’s Literacy. Westport, CT: Bergin & Garvey

Signing breaks through traditional instruction in bi-lingual classrooms.

Kindergarten teacher in East Lost Angeles whose students are mostly Spanish speaking, and come from gang-infested neighborhoods, were having no luck with traditional instruction.

Most students could not identify names or phonetics of the true alphabet, recognize their own names and didn’t understand the concept of words or print.

The teacher decided to incorporate signing into her classroom. The Grey Reading Test taken in 1998. Results: of class of 31 students 28 reading at or above grade level. 4 children reading at second grade level, 19 students reading at 1st grade level, five students reading at grade level. (5) “ This teacher knows sign helps children recognize letter shapes and sounds, remember word names and meaning, and, ultimately, learn how to read.”

Reference: Daniels, M. (2001). Dancing With Words: Signing for Hearing Children’s Literacy. Westport, CT: Bergin & Garvey

Sight word retention increases with sign language instruction.

A reading teacher identified 10 first grade students needing help with sight word retention. Their sight word retention before sign language instruction averaged 69% after 14 weeks of sign language instruction they averaged 93% in sight word retention.

Reference: Wilson. R., & Hoyer, J. (1985). The use of signing as a reinforcement of sight vocabulary in the primary grades. 1985 Yearbook of the State of Maryland International Reading Association, pp. 43-51

Communication is at the heart of child development.

Communication is at the heart of child development, be it cognitive, social, emotional or behavioral.

Reference: Retrieved from http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/933/1/ThePsychology2008.pdf

*Research and studies cited not conducted on behalf of, or in reference to, Bright Signs Learning.