Baby Sign Language Research

Over the last two decades there has been numerous research conducted around the topic of baby sign language. Below is a list of studies/research/articles on baby sign language that highlight the various benefits of using baby sign language in your home or childcare centre.

Using Sign Language With Hearing Children (Babies, Pre-School & Primary aged Children)

Acredolo & Goodwyn:
Acredolo & Goodwyn conducted over twenty years of research on the benefits of using simple hand movements with pre-verbal babies. Below is a link to their three main studies:

Susan Goodwyn, Linda Acredolo, and Catherine Brown (2000). Impact of symbolic gesturing on early language development. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 24 (2), pp. 81-103.
Article – Impact of Symbolic Gesturing on early language development
Acredolo, L. P., & Goodwyn, S.W. (July 2000). The long-term impact of symbolic gesturing during infancy on IQ at age 8. Paper presented at the meetings of the International Society for Infant Studies, Brighton, UK.
Article The long-term impact of symbolic gesturing during infancy on IQ at age 8
Brie Moore, Linda Acredolo, & Susan Goodwyn (April 2001). Symbolic gesturing and joint attention: Partners in facilitating verbal development. Paper presented at the Biennial Meetings of the Society for Research in Child Development.
ArticleSymbolic gesturing and joint attention

Marilyn Daniels:
Dr. Marilyn Daniels, a professor of communication arts and sciences at Penn State University, is a distinguished researcher and a recognized authority of studying the benefits of teaching sign language to children in preschool through sixth grade. Below are a list of her studies, books and journal entries:

“ASL as a Possible Factor in the Acquisition of English for Hearing Children,” Sign Language Studies, 1993, Vol. 78, pp. 23-29.
“The Effect of Sign Language on Hearing Children’s Language Development,” Communication Education, 1994, Vol. 43:4, pp. 291-298.
“Words More Powerful Than Sound,” Sign Language Studies, 1994, Vol. 83, pp. 155-166.
“Nonverbal Language and Manual Speech,” The Speech Communication Annual, 1994, Vol. 8, p. 51-60.
“Seeing Language: The Effect Overtime of Sign Language on Vocabulary Development in Early Childhood Education,” Child Study Journal, 1996, Vol. 26:3, pp. 193-208.
“Previously Masked Concepts: The Communicative Role of Language in Deaf and Hearing Cultures,” Ohio Speech Journal, 1996, Vol. 34, pp. 1-15.
“Bilingual, Bimodel Education for Hearing Kindergarten Students,” Sign Language Studies, 1996, Vol. 90, pp. 25-37.
“Teacher Enrichment of Prekindergarten Curriculum with Sign Language,” Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 1997, Vol. 12:1, pp. 27-33.
Sign Language Advantage. Sign Language Studies. Vol.2:1, 2001, pp.5-19.
Sign Education: A Communication Tool for Young Learners. Speech Communication Association of Pennsylvania Annual. Vol.LVII, 2001, pp.77-95.
Reading Signs: A Way to Promote Early Childhood Literacy. Communication Teacher. Vol. 16:2, 2002, pp.32-38.
Using A Signed Language as a Second Language for Kindergarten Students. Child Study Journal. Vol.33:1, 2003, 2003, pp. 53-70.
Happy Hands: The Effect of ASL on Hearing Children’s Literacy. Reading Research and Instruction. Vol. 44:1 Fall 2004, pp.86-100.
Deaf President Now and American Sign Language: Seeing Rhetoric. Pennsylvania Communication Association Annual. 2005, (in press).
The Silent Signs of Learning: ASL in a Special Needs Class. Child Study Journal. 2005, (in press).
Daniels, M. (2001). Dancing with Words: Signing for Hearing Children’s Literacy. Westport, Connecticut: Bergin and Garvey.

Other Researchers & Articles:

Wilson, R., Teague, J., and Teague, M. (1985). The Use of Signing and Fingerspelling to Improve Spelling Performance with Hearing Children. Reading Psychology, 4, 267-273.
Hafer, J. (1986). Signing For Reading Success. Washington D.C.: Clerc Books, Gallaudet University Press.
Koehler, L., and Loyd, L. (September 1986). Using Fingerspelling/Manual Signs to Facilitate Reading and Spelling. Biennial Conference of the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication. (4’th Cardiff Wales).
“The Effect of Singing Paired with Signing on Receptive Vocabulary Skills of Elementary ESL Students”, Heather A. Schunk, Journal of Music Therapy: Vol. 36, No 2, pp. 110-124.
Sign Language: The Best Second Language? By Steve Kokette
Hearing Students, Sign Language, and Music: A Valuable Combination By Steve Kokette
“Sign, Baby, Sign!” by Kristin Snoddon, Article in World Federation of Deaf News, May 2000, pp. 16-17.

Using Sign Language With Children Who Have Reading Disabilities:

Vernon, M., Coley, J., Hafer, J., and Dubois, J. (April 1980). Using Sign Language to Remediate Severe Reading Problems. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 13, 215-218.
Blackburn, D., Vonvillian, J., and Ashby, R. (January 1984). Manual Communication as an Alternative Mode of Language Instruction for Children with Severe Reading Disabilities. Language, Speech and Hearing Services in Schools, 15, 22-31.
Carney, J., Cioffi, G., and Raymond, W. (Spring 1985). Using Sign Language For Teaching Sight Words. Teaching Exceptional Children. 214-217.
Sensenig, L., Topf, B., and Mazeika, E. (June 1989). Sign Language Facilitation of Reading with Students Classified as Trainable Mentally Handicapped. Education and Training of the Mentally Retarded, 121-125.