Deaf Children's ASL Vocabulary and ASL Syntax Knowledge Supports English Knowledge

Robert Hoffmeister, Jon Henner, Catherine Caldwell-Harris, Rama Novogrodsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The current study contributes empirical data to our understanding of how knowledge of American Sign Language (ASL) syntax aids reading print English for deaf children who are bilingual and bimodal in ASL and English print. The first analysis, a conceptual replication of Hoffmeister (2000), showed that performance on the American Sign Language Assessment Instrument correlated with the Sanford Achievement Test - Reading Comprehension (SAT-RC) and the Rhode Island Test of Language Structures (RITLS, Engen & Engen, 1983). The second analysis was a quantile regression using ASL assessments to predict English print abilities. Different ASL skills were important for English reading comprehension (SAT-RC) versus understanding English syntax (RITLS); the relationship between ASL skills and English print performance also varied for students at different English print ability levels. Strikingly, knowledge of ASL syntax was robustly correlated with knowledge of English syntax at all ability levels. Our findings provide novel and strong evidence for the impact of ASL on the development of English literacy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-47
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - 16 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Published by Oxford University Press.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Deaf Children's ASL Vocabulary and ASL Syntax Knowledge Supports English Knowledge'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this