What the Research Says
The following links are a sampling of the academic research that explains why learning language young is so important, how the young brain processes language, how language skills are foundational to the process of learning to read, how multi-sensory learning can facilitate the language learning process and how these skills then form the backbone for academic success.
- National Task force on Early Childhood Education for Hispanics, March 2007 Para Nuestros Niños – Expanding and Improving Early Education for Hispanics, Main Report.
- Hart, Betty and Risley, Todd. Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experiences of Young American Children, Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co., 2003. Amazon.com
- Findings from the National Literacy Panel on Language Minority Children and Youth and Implications for Classroom Practice, Center for Applied Linguistics, 2006, Executive Summary.
- Policy Brief – Is Public Pre-K Preparing Hispanic Children to Succeed in School? By Luis M. Laosa and Pat Ainsworth NIEER Policy Brief (Issue 13, March 2007.)
- Cárdenas-Hagan, E., Carlson, C., and Durodola, S. (2007) The Cross Linguistic Transfer of Early Literacy Skills: The Role of Initial L1 and L2 Skills and Language of Instruction. Language Speech and Hearing Services in Schools. 38(3), 249-259.
- Dr. Patricia Kuhl explains how the developing brain has an even greater capacity to acquire language than was thought.
- How Children Acquire Language: Studies of Monolingual and Bilingual Children- Dr. Laura Ann Petitto: Professor, Director, and Senior Scientist of the “Genes, Mind & fNIRS Brain Imaging Laboratory for Language, Bilingualism, and Child Development,” The University of Toronto Scarborough and The University of Toronto.
- How Global Language Learning Gives Students the Edge- edutopia.com.
- ACTFL – What Does Research Show About the Benefits of Language Learning?
Sign Language Research
Explore the benefits of signing with pre-verbal infants, toddlers beginning to speak, children with special needs, children who can hear, children learning foreign languages, and more.
Decades of research have been conducted demonstrating the many benefits of signing with children who can hear. An internet search on the topic will produce many results. We have provided just a few of the best-known resources to share with you.
Joseph Garcia’s research
As Joseph Garcia began working as an Interpreter in the late 1970’s, he noticed that hearing babies of deaf parents could communicate their needs and desires at a much earlier age than children of hearing parents. Joseph began to research the use of American Sign Language with hearing babies of hearing parents at Alaska Pacific University in 1987. His thesis research showed that babies who are exposed to signs regularly and consistently at six to seven months of age can begin expressive communication by their eighth or ninth month.
Research on How Signing Helps Hearing Children Learn to Read – summarized by Laura Felzer of Cal Poly University – Pomona.
Marilyn Daniels, Ph.D.Dr., a professor of speech communication at Penn State University, has found that hearing students in pre-kindergarten classes who receive instruction in both English and ASL score significantly higher on the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test than hearing students in classes with no sign instruction. Her studies demonstrate that adding visual and kinesthetic elements to verbal communication helps enhance a preschool child’s vocabulary, spelling and reading skills.
Daniels, M. (October, 1994). The effects of sign language on hearing children’s language development. Communication Education, 43, 291-298.
Daniels, M. (1996). Seeing language: The effect over time of sign language on vocabulary development in early childhood education. Child Study Journal, 26, 193-208.
Daniels, M. (2001). Dancing with Words: Signing for Hearing Children’s Literacy. Westport, Connecticut: Bergin and Garvey.
Dr’s. Linda Acredelo and Susan Goodwyn
In a longitudinal study involving 140 families, Linda Acredolo and Susan Goodwyn discovered that babies exposed to signs outperformed non-signing babies in comparison after comparison. The study demonstrated that signing babies understood more words, had larger vocabularies, scored higher on intelligence tests, and engaged in more sophisticated play than did their non-signing counterparts.
Parents of signing babies in the study reported decreased frustration, increased communication, a deepened bond with their child, increases in their child’s self-confidence as well as increases in their child’s interest in books. Additionally, when Acredolo and Goodwyn revisited the families in the original study when the children were seven and eight years old they found that the children who signed as babies had a mean IQ of 114 compared to the non-signing control group’s mean IQ of 102.
Shari Robertson, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Indiana University of Pennsylvania Using Sign to Facilitate Oral Language: Building a Case with Parents.