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USING ASL AND PRINT-BASED SIGN TO BUILD FLUENCY AND GREATER INDEPENDENCE WITH WRITTEN ENGLISH AMONG DEAF STUDENTS

Keywords: Print-based sign , English-based sign , fingerspelling , lipreading , ASL thinkpad

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Abstract:

This study investigated the use of ASL and print-based sign in the development of English writing fluencyand writing independence among deaf, middle school students. ASL was the primary languagethrough which students engaged in higher-level thinking, problem solving and meaning making. Printbasedsign was used for rereading the collaboratively constructed English text. Mixed method approacheswere utilized. First, a pretest-posttest control group design investigated whether students receiving theinstruction made significantly greater gains compared to non-receivers with length of text—one indicatorof writing fluency. There were a total of 33 students, 16 in the treatment group and 17 in the comparisongroup. The intervention lasted a total of 8 weeks, during which the treatment teacher guided the collaborativeconstruction of two English report papers. The comparison group continued with its usual writinginstruction and had equal instructional time. The analysis of variance (ANOVA) for length was statisticallysignificant with a large effect size (d=1.53). Additionally, qualitative data demonstrated ways inwhich three very different classes in the treatment group gained greater English competency and fluency.Further development of ASL as L1 was deemed a necessary component for students with language delays.All students exhibited progressively more independence with writing over time.

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