|SignWriting List Forum|
Deborah Holden |
Date: Wed May 12, 1999 4:58 pm
Subject: Re: A Question I Can't Answer...
I read Valerie's email and wanted to respond. Wow! What a technological
wonder. I was recently given a copy of a local newspaper article and to cut a
long story short I was able to scan it and after 2 hours of word processing I
got it to be readable. I hope it helps. Also I want to say that I personally
loved Angus B. Grieve-Smith's response. I agreed with it too. I just thought
that this article was another thing to consider. Deborah
Here is a question that I just received - about research on using sign
language with "hearing students". Does anyone on the SW List have
suggestions as to how I should answer this question? I do not know where to
send her, for the information she needs....
A Good Sign: ASL Helps Readers
By Liza N. Burby
HEARING KIDS who learn American Sign Language can improve their reading
skills, says Cindy Bowen principal of Berkshire Elementary School in Baltimore
County, Md. She was instrumental in bringing sign to most of the primary
schools in Baltimore, where word recognition improved by at least 10 percent,
and in some cases, 50 percent, in one school year.
"Sign helps kids remember the written word better," she explains. "In ASL, so
many signs are like the word, so when kids see the word 'dog,' for example,
they remember it. Also, our muscles help us retain memory. It doesn't take a
lot of memory for the muscles to react when someone throws you a ball. When
kids learn the ASL alphabet using their fingers and hands, you can see them
spelling with their fingers during a spelling tests.
m Children who learn ASL improve their vocabulary by 15 to 20 percent,
to Marilyn Daniels, professor of speech communication at Pennsylvania State
University in Scranton. "Sign gives kids concepts for things they can't see in
pictures, like the word 'allegiance,' for instance, which they use every day in
school when they sing the pledge. There is also less conflict in the classroom,
because teachers who use sign give directions in ASL and kids seem eager to
show they know the ©± ecret code k
m Parents can learn ASL with their kids, although Daniels recommends trying to
stay a step ahead because children pick it up faster than adults. She believes
parents who use ASL can better help their young children learn to read and also
improve communication with their kids. Most communication between parent and
child is not done face-to-face with eye contact, but when you use ASL, you have
to look at each other, m she says. "Kids like it better, too, and are more apt
to respond. It's also a fun thing to do together."
In addition, because ASL is considered a language, you will be helping your
children learn a second language, and research shows that the earlier kids
learn another language, the easier it is to learn more. Sign also helps teach
acceptance of others and allows kids the ability to communication with
hearing-impaired children and adults. "We teach kids that sign is someone's
language and we need to respect it," Bowen says.
For parents interested in learning ASL, Daniels recommends "The American Sign
Language Dictionary" (Random House, $22.50). There are many ASL books for kids
in the library, and you might also want to try two award-winning sign videos
from Aylmer Press for kids 2 and older, "Sign and ABC'S: A New Way to Play" and
"Sign Songs: Fun Songs to
Sign and Sing." A third video, œ€ eginning Reading and Sign Language, m has
reviews. Price is $14.98 each; call from Aylmer Press, 888-SIGN-IT-2.
Young Columnist. Stephanie Ham-