|Photo Courtesy of The Orange County Register|
American Sign Language is a language that most people don't know. They may know "I love you" or a couple of letters. I know in Elementary School I was taught how to spell our school "Tyler" in ASL for our little school song. I thought it was cute, but I never knew that's what we were doing until I was older. Over the years I have studied ASL and in a couple instances have held some shorter conversations in it since my sign is a bit choppy since I am not fluent in it. I found this list of reasons of benefits to learning ASL. I think that this is something that could be done when children are young along side learning to read.
Top 11 Benefits of using ASL Signs in Second Language Learning
1. Everyone uses gestures when they speak. Gestures naturally support and enhance spoken language.
2. ASL sign vocabulary is very expressive and frequently depicts its meaning visually. (e.g., the ASL sign for COOKIE looks as if you are using a cookie cutter.) Easy!
3. This visual association of signs with their meaning makes them easy to remember.
4. Signs become a powerful common "bridge" that links two spoken languages. This helps the brain travel back and forth more easily between those languages.
5. Established signs are what links people together successfully (not gestures that each individual invents on their own). When people make up their own signs it's just as if they made up their own spoken language...not too useful beyond just one or two other people!
6. ASL is a kinesthetic language (it depends upon movement) and when linked with spoken language, it actively helps connect both hemispheres of the brain. That adds another powerful bridge.
7. Signs act as a prompt to assist the brain in the recall of new spoken words. When you can't remember the spoken word, make the sign and you will be amazed at how it triggers the memory into action.
8. Adding signs to the language-learning process provides a basis for a third language. Today, ASL is recognized as a fully-accredited foreign language in most high schools and universities.
9. Signing adds focus, lowers noise levels, and helps boost self-esteem.
10. Almost all kids love to sign! It's simply fun!
11. Signing creates an environment for the inclusion of ALL children in the process.
This list was provided by Sign 2 Me