Master's Theses


Advanced Education Programs

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


The purpose of the study was to determine if sign language increased the rate in which students learn to read new vocabulary words. A single subject, multiple treatment research design was implemented for use with this study. All of the Saxon Phonics 1 sight words were pre-tested to develop a list of 40 words that were unknown to both participants. These forty sight vocabulary words were then randomly separated into two groups of twenty. The first group of twenty was taught using only the Saxon Phonics 1 program, while the second group of twenty was taught using sign language of the twenty words along with the Saxon Phonics program. A daily checklist was kept to determine sight word vocabulary growth. The researcher hypothesized students would demonstrate a greater increase in their sight word vocabulary when the words were taught using sign language along with their Saxon Phonics program versus when the sight words were taught using the Saxon Phonics program without signs. Results were presented in graphic form. Analysis was based upon a visual inspection of the graphs for magnitude and direction of the learning curve. Visual inspection of the graphs indicated that, while one student began with lower results using signs, eventually both students learned the sight words faster when signing was included in the teaching. The researcher also noted that the students were excited about participating during sign training and talked about how much fun it was to learn the signs for the words.


Dr. Ron Fahey

Date of Award

Summer 2010

Document Type



© 2010 Nancy A. Muck


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