Using American Sign Language to Improve Comprehension and Vocabulary

Eight vocabulary words, all of which appear in the humorous picture book Sam’s Sandwich, are introduced through American Sign Language (ASL). First the sign for each word is presented, emphasizing the connection between the word’s meaning and the visual depiction of the concept. Then the text is read aloud, and students sign the vocabulary words when they hear them in the text. Students continue to practice the signs as they engage in a choral reading activity, which reinforces both comprehension and vocabulary. Extension activities increase students’ understanding of the vocabulary words and encourage them to learn additional ASL signs.