What is ASL?

American Sign Language (ASL) is a visual language. With signing, the brain processes linguistic information through the eyes. The shape, placement, and movement of the hands, as well as facial expressions and body movements, all play important parts in conveying information.

Sign language is not a universal language — each country has its own sign language, and regions have dialects, much like the many languages spoken all over the world. Like any spoken language, ASL is a language with its own unique rules of grammar and syntax. Like all languages, ASL is a living language that grows and changes over time.

ASL is used predominantly in the United States and in many parts of Canada. ASL is accepted by many high schools, colleges, and universities in fulfillment of modern and “foreign” language academic degree requirements across the United States.

Reference:

National Association of the Deaf

http://nad.org/issues/american-sign-language/what-is-asl

 

What does this language look like?

Check out AMP (Accessible Materials Project), which is based in Georgia. AMP provides video for those who use ASL or who are learning ASL. One of their many videos can be found here, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnQY1aKWrFE. This video presents sight words in written English and in ASL. Words are fingerspelled and signed.

A Day in the Life: Meet Franklin

Meet Franklin who is 5 years old. He is profoundly deaf and was identified at 1 year old. His parents, who are hearing, have chosen ASL as his modality. He is in kindergarten in a mainstream classroom.

4:03 PM

Franklin is just arriving home after a long 7 hour school day. He is hot and sweaty after his 45 minute bus commute from school to his house. He has homework to do – read a book and draw a picture of his favorite scene in the book. He can’t read yet, so he has to wait until his parents are able to read to him and help him with his homework.

Franklin is preparing for his homework activity by setting up on the kitchen table his paper, colored pencils, and the book he’s chosen. Mom works from home but doesn’t finish work until 5 PM. Dad won’t be home until much later, usually after 9 PM. Mom is a hearing parent whose ASL has improved greatly over the past several years, but she doesn’t feel confident in her ability communicating with Franklin.

FREE Online Resource to Support Summer Reading

Yes, that’s right!

Through a partnership between myON and Get Georgia Reading: Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, all educators, librarians, students, and parents in Georgia have free access to more than 5,000 enhanced digital books from now through August 30th. These digital books, with flexible reading scaffolds, are the core content of myON’s award-winning personalized literacy environment with embedded tools and metrics to support and track student reading growth. During this free summer trial, all readers will share a single account that provides unlimited access to myON’s digital books, without the personalization elements.

  • To learn more about how to take full advantage of this resource, watch this video.
  • Visit the myON website
  • In the School Name field, type (do NOT paste) “Get Georgia Reading, Campaign for Grade Level Reading.” (Once you start typing, the field will self-populate the rest.)
  • In the User Name field, type “read”
  • In the Password field, type: read. 
  • Click “Sign In” 
  • Select a book and begin reading!

NEW VL2 Storybook App: The Boy Who Cried Wolf

Boy Who Cried Wolf The classic Aesop’s fable about the boy who cried wolf is brought to life in a wholly new medium with vivid American Sign Language storytelling, adding cinematic elements to a timeless tale. Accompanied by detailed paintings that evoke times of yore, this storybook app for the iPad comes with over 140 vocabulary words, signed and fingerspelled. App design is based on proven research on bilingualism and visual learning from Visual Language and Visual Learning.

In The Boy Who Cried Wolf VL2 Storybook you will also find:

• Talented and professional ASL storytelling by Justin Jackerson

• Original artwork by renowned artist Pamela Witcher

• Easy and accessible navigation designed for children

• Retina supported images

• Over 140 vocabulary words in American Sign Language!

• Perfect tool for parents learning ASL along with their child! Read together!

• Audio voice-over provided for all vocabulary words.

• App features page by page videos, as well as a full ASL story with animations!

All revenues from this app will go towards research and the development of more bilingual & interactive storybook apps!

You can find this app online here. BWCW 3 BWCW 2 BWCW 4

Classroom Strategies to Build and Strengthen Literacy Skills

I stumbled upon a fantastic, informative website.

Reading Rockets.

But it’s more than just a website. It’s a movement.

This is what they say about themselves:
“We bring the best research-based strategies to teachers, parents, administrators, librarians, childcare providers, and anyone else involved in helping a young child become a strong, confident reader. Our goal is to bring the reading research to life — to spread the word about reading instruction and to present ‘what works’ in a way that parents and educators can understand and use.”

I just had to share the classroom strategies that I found there. Here’s a peek…

Reading Rockets 1

Further down, they list the different categories of strategies with guidance.

Reading Rockets 2

Here’s an example of one of their strategies — word maps.

Reading Rockets 3

You can find them here. Or by using this link: http://www.readingrockets.org/strategies/.

This is a gift to all teachers, professionals, parents, and families who actively play a role in a child’s language and literacy development. Many thanks to Reading Rockets for providing educators with this wonderful resource.

Did you find this helpful? Let us know at gapathway@gmail.com.

Deaf Education: Writing Strategies for Literacy

In classrooms for children who are deaf and hard of hearing (DHH), written language instruction is part of a rich literacy-learning environment. Written language instruction is not handwriting. It is an expressive version of language just like speaking. Instruction on how to form letters is handwriting. Written language starts with the idea that words have meaning and can be written down.

In Mayer’s (2007) article, “What Really Matters in the Early Literacy Development of Deaf Children,” the author highlights the importance of creating a rich literacy-learning environment and describes a classroom that: includes practices that are relevant, purposeful, and functional for the learner . . . [and] provide daily opportunities to experiment with reading and writing, linking literacy experiences and the active use of language (p. 424).

Here are two activities that teachers can try with students in the classroom or parents can try at home.

Writing Activities Restaurant and Jigsaw

Let us know what you think about these activities, whether you found them helpful or if you need help in another area of language/literacy development. You can write to us at gapathway@gmail.com.

Strategies for Teaching Vocabulary

Is your child a language developer or a language learner?

Language Levels

The importance of meaningful context when teaching vocabulary:

Targeting Vocabulary 10-2

If you like what you see here, please let us know! If you didn’t find what you were looking for, we would love to know that, too. Email us at gapathway@gmail.com.

Do you know about our 2020 goal for every child in Georgia who is deaf and hard of hearing? Visit www.georgialiteracy.org to learn about our work and what you can do to get your children on a path to grade level reading!

Research Presentation: Language & Literacy

GSU Flyer

Don’t miss this presentation by Dr. Kim Wolbers of University of Tennessee!

It’s here in Atlanta.

It’s FREE.

There will be ASL interpretation.

There’s no reason you should miss this, right?

Right.

See you there on MAY 13th, Pathfinders!

To learn more about Georgia Pathway to Language & Literacy, please visit our website at www.georgialiteracy.org or email us at gapathway@gmail.com.

Write A Book, Part 2: An Advanced Language Activity

Bookmaking Advanced

My toddlers are reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar this week. While this activity is too advanced for them, perhaps you can use this with your kiddos!

What book are you reading in class? Could you use that book for this language activity?

If this post was helpful, we would love for you to share it with fellow teachers, your students’ parents, anyone who might like this activity!

For more information about Georgia Pathway to Language & Literacy, please visit our website at www.georgialiteracy.org or email us at gapathway@gmail.com.