Journal Article

A Study of the Relationship Between American Sign Language and English Literacy

Michael Strong and Philip M. Prinz

in The Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education

Volume 2, issue 1, pages 37-46
Published in print January 1997 | ISSN: 1081-4159
Published online January 1997 | e-ISSN: 1465-7325 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordjournals.deafed.a014308
A Study of the Relationship Between American Sign Language and English Literacy

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This article presents the findings of a study of the relationship between American Sign Language (ASL) skills and English literacy among 160 deaf children. Using a specially designed test of ASL to determine three levels of ASL ability, we found that deaf children who attained the higher two levels significantly outperformed children in the lowest ASL ability level in English literacy, regardless of age and IQ. Furthermore, although deaf children with deaf mothers outperformed deaf children of hearing mothers in both ASL and English literacy, when ASL level was held constant, there was no difference between these two groups, except in the lowest level of ASL ability. The implication of this research is straightforward and powerful: Deaf children's learning of English appears to benefit from the acquisition of even a moderate fluency in ASL.

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Subjects: Education ; Linguistics ; Teaching of Specific Groups and Special Educational Needs

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