March 13-15, 2016 • San Diego, CA


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Rhymes and Rhythms for Young Children

Studies have revealed the benefits of phonological awareness for hearing children hence the popularity of nursery rhymes in early childhood programs and curricula. Rhymes and rhythms increase young children’s executive functions and memory skills, contribute to vocabulary growth and language proficiency (Nash & Donaldson, 2005), boost natural language acquisition, and is strongly linked to reading achievement (Adams, 1990; Stanovich, 1992). Young deaf and hard of hearing learners can achieve a similar kind of access to rhymes and rhythms as hearing children do through visual means.

  • Participants will be able to list out the benefits of phonological awareness for children, and identify the barriers deaf and hard of hearing children experience at school and home.
  • Participants will be able to incorporate rhymes and rhythms into their lives as parents, teachers, or mentors while interacting with deaf and hard of hearing children.
  • Participants will know where to find valuable educational resources designed for deaf and hard of hearing children, and know how to utilize them in the classroom or at home.

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Handout is not Available

CART transcripts are NOT YET available, but will be posted shortly after the conference


Leala Holcomb (Primary Presenter), University of Tennessee, Knoxville, lholcom5@vols.utk.edu;
Leala used to be a preschool and family education teacher working with young Deaf and Hard of Hearing children and their families. Leala created a new enterprise called Hands Land with two other colleagues focusing on developing educational resources through rhymes and rhythms. Leala is currently a first year Ph.D. student at the University of Tennessee conducting research on the benefits of rhymes and rhythms for young Deaf and Hard of Hearing children. Leala also provides professional consultations to schools inside and outside the United States.


Financial - No relevant financial relationship exist.

Nonfinancial - Has a Professional (Cooperating a project to create educational resources for young children) relationship for Volunteer employment.