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Signing with Elementary School Children

American Sign Language, ASL, provides elementary school children with is rich learning activity that is fun, playful and educational.

Signing for elementary school children is not only fun and playful but it can also be incorporated into so many aspects of learning. Signing, with American Sign Language, ASL, and songs will help students to learn and remember many core educational concepts from ABCs, numbers, colors and rhymes to phonemic awareness. Signing builds vocabulary, enhances language skills and develops reading readiness.  It also provide for fun seasonal activities that can be used at school events.  This is all attainable through enjoyable classroom sing and sign activities.

Learning to read is one of the most important skills children are learning in the early years of the educational process. Reading is the cornerstone to every year of their educational process. The ability to recognize letters, sounds and words and then understand their meaning quickly and effortlessly is crucial. Children first learn to read and then they can read to learn. ASL has been shown to be beneficial in helping children in the first years of elementary school to learn and remember many of the skills necessary to become great readers. ASL helps with word memorization, with the connections between words and their meanings, with letter recognition, with spelling and more.

The research of Dr. Marilyn Daniels shows that the use of signing can “improve hearing children's English vocabulary… spelling ability” and has been “used to help children read.” Her book Dancing with Words clearly sets forth the real benefits to learning experienced by elementary children who sign. She reports that even “the International Reading Association recognizes and recommends sign language as a reading aid.” (Daniels 2 p 13-14)

Learning the alphabet with sign has proven to be a great way for children to learn and remember. ASL is wonderful because children can sign the letters skillfully long before they can sit and write them. They can begin to spell earlier using finger spelling. Children do not need to be writing proficient for this early spelling knowledge. ASL can also be taken and used everywhere, at home, in the car as well as at school.

Signing is a wonderful learning technique that provides a way for children to learn and use a wide variety of multiple intelligences. Children who sing and sign songs will learn words and concepts verbally, visually, musically, physically and more. This varied process allows for better memory retention and recall. Signing can be used to support curriculum, to reinforce lessons learned and to enrich the school environment.

We Sign™, by combining songs with the movement of American Sign Language offers teachers, parents and caregivers a highly useful tool to parents and educators. This tool requires no previous signing knowledge. It only requires the desire to bring this wonderful activity into the lives of children. We Sign will help you to learn to sign songs, provides you with wide signing choices and will allow you to succeed with signing.

We Sign is America's #1 interactive DVD series featuring ASL, instruction and activities, for hearing children (babies, toddlers, preschoolers and elementary ages) as well as for parents, teachers and other caregivers who wish to bring signing into the lives of their children.  The Series has won over 50 National awards and has been highly acclaimed for over 15 years.

Daniels, Marilyn, Dancing With Words, Signing for Hearing Children’s Literacy, Bergin & Garvey, Westport, CT, 2001.