Discover the Magic of Signing Songs Download PDF Version
Enhancing All Children's Language and Literacy

Signing songs helps build an active, joyful community of learners.
These children are performing signed songs at a multicultural school assembly.
Multisensory ABC and phonics immersion with sign language accelerates knowledge of the alphabetical system.
These children are signing and signing b, "b" bear from The ABC Sign Language and Phonics Song, by Nellie Edge.
Children can practice the sign language ABCs during transition times
and while lining up for class dismissal. (For ABC cards, see Favorite Sign Language Resources.)
 
Children's memory for the spelling sequence of words is dramatically improved through singing, signing and fingerspelling. Kinesthetically forming letters using fingerspelling improves recall — especially for the hardest-to-reach children.
Fingerspelling helps with sounding out words:
Children can feel rhyming in their hand even if they can't hear it.
(c-a-t, h-a-t, f-a-t)
   
After children have learned the sign language for a song or rhyme, they can also read the words. This boy is reading the Yo Tengo Un Gato/I Have A Cat Little Book. Sign language provides a powerful bridge between English and Spanish.
Sign language is a great tool for class management. It keeps our young friends engaged and focused. Children easily learn to understand and sign "yes," "no," "bathroom," "focus..." These children are signing "thank you" to show their appreciation.
Fingerspelling builds kinesthetic memory connections for letters and sounds and develops the small muscles necessary
for writing.

Here children are signing the word "l-o-v-e."
 
Using American Sign Language makes class management easier: Children fingerspell the L-O-V-E Spells Love song as they go quietly down the hall. Download the free audio of LO-V-E Spells Love from the Music is Magic CD.
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Sign language builds comprehension by creating internal images of language. These children are signing "cat" by tracing the cat's whiskers.
Singing and signing enhances speaking skills: Young children who are fortunate enough to learn ASL through the accelerated language medium of songs have an early and life-long advantage in developing expressive, dynamic speaking skills. Children are signing "rain."
When children are singing and signing, they are focused and engaged — the optimum state for language learning. These children are signing t, "t" turtle from the ABC Sign Language and Phonics Song, by Nellie Edge.
 
Children are so proud of themselves when they can sign. They love to sign applause (bravo) in Exact Signed English: Hands moving excitedly to the side of the forehead. Teachers enjoy how quiet the applause is.
 

Special thank youto the following members of our ABC, Sign Language and Phonics Immersion study team for inspiration, input and photos: Laura Flocker, Julie Lay, Becky Leber, Kathie Bridges, Jennifer Foster, Joanie Cutler, Sarah Creswell, susan Handzel and Kathy Magoun.

For additional information see the following articles and resources: