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Feature Article: Music and the Learning Process
Resource Spotlight: Say, Sing, & Sign Video Series
Success Story of the Month: Katia, daughter of Dawn and Sam
Recognition and Appreciation
Reader Contributions
Fall 2001
 Feature Article

Music and the Learning Process

Research tells us that exposure to music enhances language development, spatial reasoning skills, socialization, and motivation to communicate. Common sense suggests that music and rhythm play an important role in memory and recall. Think for example about the familiarity of advertising jingles, even ones that you haven't heard for years. Without fail, if I ask a group of people to sing the Campbell's Soup jingle, several people will quickly start singing 'mmm mmm good, mmm mmm good….' Similarly, if you have a favorite song from many years back, chances are that hearing this song will evoke vivid memories of times gone by.

A medical school professor from the East Coast was recently honored by her students and peers for her unique teaching style that incorporates music and rhythm. This particular professor teaches a rather dry subject that most medical students are required to take. Instead of the usual boring methods of lecturing and encouraging students to memorize information, this professor sings and chants songs and rhymes with her students in an effort to cement the learning. Students report that they continue to easily remember the details taught in her classes years after they've graduated (Reported in The Oregonian, Sunday May 27, 2001).

When you attend a SmallTalk Workshop, you will re-learn a variety of modified children's songs and rhymes that will provide you with an opportunity to practice your new Sign Language vocabulary. Workshop participants regularly tell us that incorporating music into the learning environment helps them learn the Signs and gives them a tool to practice at home. Incorporating songs and rhymes into the learning environment also provides a more engaging environment for adults and children. With few exceptions, fussy babies will quiet when the adults begin to sing and sign. For more information on the benefits of music, click on the following links:

Why Teach with Music?
Why Music?
More of the Brain Used When Making Music
Music Makes You Smarter

 Resource Spotlight

This month our resource spotlight is on the Say, Sing, & Sign Video Series. Children love the videos in this series! Each video offers clear demonstrations of Signs followed by a variety of entertaining songs, providing you and your child with a fun way to learn and practice new Signs. Before you know it you will be singing and signing along in American Sign Language! Each $14.95 video provides 40-45 minutes of instruction on a specific topical area, such as animals, colors and nursery rhymes. To order these videos, click here or contact us.

 Success Story of the Month

Katia, daughter of Dawn and Sam

We started casually signing to Katia when she was four months old and started signing more consistently when Katia was six months old. Katia started using her first signs between seven and eight months. Her first sign was 'more,' or her version of 'more.' By 12 months Katia had a 25 word ASL vocabulary. By 14 months she had a 35-40 word ASL vocabulary in addition to several verbal words. At this stage she could regularly sign her food and beverage requests. She would wake up in the morning and sign to us what she wanted for breakfast. When she woke up crying in the middle of the night, she would sign to us that she was thirsty for water.

By 18 months Katia had a verbal vocabulary of 140-150 words (yes, we kept track…). At this stage, when she had difficulty pronouncing a new word verbally, she would hold out her hands and say 'help mommy,' so that I would show her the sign. At this stage she also used signs when we couldn't understand a word that she had repeated several times verbally. Katia continues to be highly verbal, but she seems to enjoy adding new signs to her vocabulary for fun! On August 29, 2001 Katia's story was featured on News Channel 8.

 Recognition and Appreciation

Thank you to Jill Smith of The Oregonian, for writing such a wonderful feature story on Infant/Toddler Sign Language for the August 16, 2001 Washington County Family Page.

Thank you to Cathy Rozinek from Providence Health System for the referral to Jill Smith of The Oregonian.

Thank you to Stephanie Stricklan and 'Ken the Camera Man' for such a wonderful job capturing Katia on film doing her Signs--We will treasure the experience!

Thank you to Elaine from Albina Head Start for inviting me to your Teachers' Inservice Training.

Thank you to family, friends and clients for all of your enthusiasm and support during this exciting time of great media coverage!

 Reader Contributions

Contact us
if you would like to suggest an idea for a future feature article or if you would like to contribute your own success story.

SmallTalk Learning   Portland, OR   Phone: 503.223.5622   Email:info@SmallTalkLearning.com
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