Monday, March 10, 2008

Sign Language And Reading

You have to see it to believe it.

This little 17 month old girl can read.

Really, she can. Take a look-see.

Elizabeth was taught Sign Language by her parents - both of whom are Speech Pathologists. There is a lot of research touting the benefits of hearing individuals learning Sign Language. In fact, I did my doctoral dissertation on the benefits of Sign Language.

Not only would there be gains in language and reading acquisition for hearing children, but also spatial and visual abilities would be greater developed.

And learning Sign Language could help bridge the hearing and Deaf worlds together.

Wouldn't that be something?


Angel Chasse said...

I saw this on the Today show today.. amazing.. truly amazing. It was nice for me to see good news first thing in the morning :)


Health Psych said...

Hadn't seen this. Quite amazing.

lyre said...

I want to take sign language. maybe it might help me as I age to keep sharp!

Carie said...

I took 3 years of sign language in college...for my foreign language and for my chld development daughter has been taking classes in sign and brail for 3 years (she has a brain tumor and it could cause blindness at any time) she is amazing at both, she took sign to communicate with a friends mom and brail for her future

Barbara said...

WOW! I never knew about the connection between sign and reading! That's really amazing and this little girl is something incredible!

Fallen Angels said...

Amazing! And I thought my reading at 3 was a big deal. :P

Your comment on my latest post made me LOL.

Big Brother said...

Being a second language teacher I can't help wondering if there could also be a connection between learning sign and learning a 2nd language. I know that your 2nd language does not use the same part of the brain as your first does. (Studies even show that bilingual people are less susceptible to senility because we use more of our brain ;o) I guess I'll have to look it up.

Scott said...

Very smart baby! And she's adorable!

heiresschild said...

wow, i am most impressed! i started taking sign language once, but stopped. maybe when i go to california in may or june, my 2-1/2 yr old granddaughter & i will learn sign language & i'll start her reading. she loves to sing; you think american idol next season for her? lol

S'onnie said...

I am impressed. It is easier for a younger child to learn other languages but reading is a different thing again.

Casdok said...

Certainly would!!

Annie Thomas-Burke said...


Hi Deb!
Followed an old blog comment from
you years ago, just to see if you were still here.
Nice to see you have continued to blog as well. is my blog, I still have an art blog here on blogger, which is where I am posting from today.
Hope you are well Deb.
Have a wonderful day.

PsychPerson said...

Awesome :) That little girl is sooo cute!

Tai said...

Sign language seems to be a big step in developing brains towards better understanding of the written word. Friends of mine have their children learning SL and their reading skills are growing by leaps and bounds!

MYSTI said...

wow how amazing is that! My sons came home talking about this to, i guess they saw it in class. :)

Saur♥Kraut said...

Fasinating! I hadn't seen this yet.

about jenji said...

What would Noam Chomsky think?


The Lone Beader said...

Wow, that is very interesting! Perhaps someone offstage was using sign language to tell her what word to say?? (Sorry, that's my stagehand mind thinking... LOL)

Mel Avila Alarilla said...

Yes, sign language is the best thing that ever happened to all deaf and mute people. Suddenly there is an avenue for them to communicate with other people. Thanks for this valuable post. God bless you and your loved ones always.

~Deb said...

Absolutely amazing. I can't get over how well she pronounces "morning" and even "Ann"...

And I thought my niece and nephew were geniuses already learning to read in kindergarten!

It would be nice if everyone simply knew how to speak to one another, sign language, and even in various languages. Bringing the gap for everybody.

Muser said...

I have always been a lousy speller, and when spelling aloud tend to "get my mords and wetters lixed," for example "s" and "c". But I learned fingerspelling as a child and noticed an improvement in my spelling as I used spelling words to practice fingerspelling. To this day I continue to use fingerspelling, both when learning new spelling and when having to spell words for others. Something happens between the brain and the tongue so that the latter stumbles when the former spells, but involving the fingers tidies everything up nicely. I've since recommended this technique to teachers and parents and have had very postive responses! (Though one teacher said she now has to watch her students' hands during tests to make sure that any fingerspelling is done as memory cues and not to help other students. New class rule: all fingerspelling hands must be kept in pockets or desks!)

CrackerLilo said...

You read about my deaf friend and her passel of children in my last post...well, I'm sending this to her. How awesome. The kids all know ASL, learned it from babyhood, and are extremely fluent, though only one of the three so far is deaf.

My kid brother and I have a sign language, what is called a "home sign". Neither of us are deaf; it's just that I saw he could gesture a little bit (I'm 7 years older) and thought it was nicer than his crying. So we have a pretty sophisticated home sign, and have made each other laugh from across the room.

His wife takes ASL classes now--she wants to be a special ed teacher--and practices with him. He's better at it than she is. :-)

Oh, and both our wives "speak" our home sign language now, too.

It always does my heart good to see how the human need to communicate will prevail over any circumstance!

Ms.L said...

I love that she's still a typical 17month old girl!

That was amazing!!
I'm wondering now if ASL would help JIg learn to read better..I should give it a try. Can't hurt!

Deb said...

Dear Angel,
I was so WOWED seeing this,

Dear HP,
It's a US based show, so I'm glad you could catch it on a vid-reply. Amazing, right?

Dear Lyre,
I am fluent in ASL and think knowing sign is a valuable thing. Go for it. You can find classes just about anywhere: University, Adult Ed, etc.

Dear Carie,
I think you and your daughter rock.

Dear Barbara,
She blew me away. And I wanted to reach into the tv and just kiss her.

Dear Fallen,
My parents said I was reading the newspaper at 2 years of age. But I bet it was sight reading and visual recognition more than the sounding out of words. This little girl and her skills were amazing. I'm a big believer in Sign Language being learned by the hearing world so the Deaf can be connected to us and vice versa.

Dear BB,
YOu are so right about that.

Dear SCott,
A cutie!

Dear Heiress,
I think dreams should be I'll be looking for your GD on Idol soon ;)

Dear S'Onnie,
YEs as we age, our brains are less "elastic".

Dear Casdok,
Yup, I agree too.

Dear Annie,
Hey friend. I'll come by and visit.

Dear Donna,
Wasn't it a treat to see something amazing like that?

Dear Tai,
Sign is a very powerful language.

Dear Mysti,
I love when kids come home and share what they've seen or learned

Dear Saur,
So glad I could share it with you.

Dear Jeni,
I think he'd be impressed. I wonder if he saw it!

Dear Lone,
I doubt it, but can understand why others could think that. If you see, you tracks the letters with her eyes and sounds them out as she goes.

Dear Mel,
Sign Language has a deep and rich history. Deaf individuals have fought fiercely to validate it as a linguistic system. And it is a very real and very important language.

I wanted to squish her with kisses when she said morning Ann.

Dear Muser,
My fluency in Sign has definitley added much to my language and spatial skills. I recommend Signing all the time, and wish we could be a hearing society that becomes fluent in it.

Dear Cracker,
How fantastic that you have your own unique sign language. You are awesome!

Dear Ms. L,
I think it would be a very worthwhile experience.


Tiptoe said...

I agree that sign language has definite benefits for everyone. It would be nice if more hearing people did learn sign language.

Something I find interesting is that there are still those in the deaf community who get upset with other deaf individuals who decide to learn to speak.

Recently, on one of my podcasts, the guest was a woman who teaches parents sign language to their infants, starting at like 5 or so months of age. It was really remarkable what the children learned and how effective communication was for both the children and parents.

for_the_lonely said...

How refreshing! In a world where we are constantly being bombarded with negativity, this little girl, Katie, was just a total doll! She is truly a gem!

Nurse Practitioners Save Lives said...

I think a large part of how well a child does in any endeavor is how much time the parents spending teaching them. I think that all children have the potential to be great and it's sad that some parents neglect it.

Jade said...

I'm a huge believer in that teaching sign language to children as infants jump starts their language growth. It has been done with about 70% of my spectrum clients and has proven to be very effective. Very cool vignette.

Chuck McKay said...

I'm sitting here with my mouth open. Amazing.

Id it is said...

Incredulous to say the least! Also, very promising as it opens so many vistas of help and hope to those who are incapable of communicating for a variety of physiological reasons.

james said...

This is quite amazing.I have been learning sign language from 1 year.This has helped me a lot.I think everyone should learn atleast basics of sign language.The best source for learning sign language is--
learn sign language
Great stuff,
keep up the good work,

InfantSignLanguage said...

Absolutely amazing yet I know that Baby Sign Language really does work! It will definitely speed the learning process... I have worked with my nephew and have seen it first hand! If you want a good referral.. check out this blog and Sign Language Product... I think you will find it very good! It's worth it!