The influence of hand gestures on reading comprehension

Keri Koepke

Abstract

Hand gestures used in conjunction with speech can provide more concrete and accurate information than through speech alone (Wang, Bernas, & Eberhard, 2004). The purpose of this study was to explore the effectiveness of hand gestures on reading comprehension. To examine this hypothesis the researcher designed an eight week study, incorporating the use of hand gestures into the reading lessons and collected data. Eleven second grade students participated in reading lessons which included vocabulary development, a reading strategy focus and practice, and reading of weekly story selection. Data derived from pre and post-reading/comprehension assessments, weekly comprehension tests, and Theme Skills tests showed that the participants’ reading comprehension had increased through the use of hand gestures during reading instruction of new vocabulary words and reading strategies.