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American Sign Language and English Literacy, Interdependence of

  • By: Jim Cummins
  • In: The SAGE Deaf Studies Encyclopedia
  • Edited by: Genie Gertz & Patrick Boudreault
  • Subject:Physical Disabilities, Otorhinolaryngology (Ears, Nose, & Throat)

Research studies conducted since the 1990s have demonstrated that Deaf children and adults who develop strong American Sign Language (ASL) skills perform better on measures of English literacy than those who fail to develop strong ASL skills. Research studies conducted in contexts outside the United States and Canada have also demonstrated positive relationships between the development of expertise in natural sign languages and overall academic performance. This relationship between expertise in a natural sign language and academic performance is reflected in the well-known fact that children born to Deaf parents who grow up with ASL or another natural sign language as a home language tend to experience considerably more success in school than children born to hearing parents whose possibilities for linguistic interaction in the ...

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