Open Access Thesis
Date of Award
Communication Sciences and Disorders
The purpose of this study is to evaluate how gestural training may facilitate oral reading and reading comprehension of single words. For example, it is not clear whether multi-modal cues such as gesture provide an advantage over verbal cueing alone, or which type of multi-modal cues may be more effective than others in visual-verbal learning. This study examined language learning in healthy volunteers to be able to apply the effective methods for language intervention in individuals with language difficulties.
Thirty-two healthy adults were selected to participate in four different learning conditions including verbal alone, visual cue, meaningful gesture, and meaningless gesture. The participants were trained to correlate a verb with the matched nonsense symbol(s). After the 4 training conditions, the participants completed a final comprehensive yes/no verification task. It was predicted that participants would perform most accurately in orally reading novel script that was trained using meaningful gesture, followed by training with the visual tracing cue, then verbal training alone, and finally, verbal plus meaningless gesture. It was also predicted that participants would perform fastest in orally reading novel script that was trained using meaningful gesture, followed by training with the visual tracing cue, then verbal training alone, and finally, verbal plus meaningless gesture.
The results of this study did not support the assumption that training with meaningful gestures facilitates learning of visual-verbal associations more than verbal training alone. Also, the assumption that training with a visual tracing gesture would aid learning more than training with the verbal cue alone was not supported by this study. The assumption that training with meaningless gestures would interfere with learning compared to training with the verbal cue only was supported by this study.
These results suggest that the addition of a gesture with the verbal production of the word divides the participants' attention between two items rather than one. These results also suggest that the nonsense symbols were vastly unfamiliar and therefore taxing the process of language learning. It would be beneficial for future studies to use the theory of these training tasks with young children who have increased mental flexibility and are better able to learn language when using combined gestures and/or movement with verbal production of words.
Williams, Rachael Joymarie, "The Influence Of Gestural Learning On Oral Reading And Reading Comprehension" (2014). Wayne State University Theses. 322.