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

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A Baby’s Language Development: Joint Attention

kid boy and mother playing together with cup toys

What is Joint Attention?

From birth, parents respond to their infant’s coos, smiles, and movements as though they are meaningful communicative acts, and may smile, vocalize, or otherwise imitate their infant’s actions. These types of exchanges, sometimes called “proto-conversations,” are important for the infant’s developing emotional and social competence, including bonding and attachment, as well as early understanding of turn-taking and meaningful communication.

Beginning around six months, as infants become more mobile and start to explore the world around them, the focus of their attention shifts to the objects in their environment. Soon after that, they begin to coordinate attention between caregivers and objects in a meaningful way by looking, for example, back and forth between the caregiver and the object. This kind of shared focus between a child, a caregiver, and an object or event is known as joint attention. ¹

The Importance of Joint Attention

Infants’ ability to engage in joint attention is an important developmental milestone. Joint attention serves as a foundation for developing communicative competence and is one basis for the development of early social and cognitive skills.
For both hearing and deaf children, joint attention interactions are also crucial for language development. Specifically, the language children hear and see during this particular type of interaction with their caregivers is strongly linked to early vocabulary development. When caregivers share attention with their infants, and comment on the object or event on which the infant is focusing, infants acquire new words more easily and efficiently than if the caregiver simply attempts to redirect the child’s attention. Joint attention interactions that focus specifically on shared book reading have also been linked to later language development and reading ability.¹

How to Develop This Skill (Listening & Spoken Language)

  • Tell your child, “Look at me,” then tap his/her face and then your face. After you have given this verbal cue, give your child time to respond.
  • Point to a toy that your child likes and say, “look.” Gently turn his/her head toward the toy. When he/she looks at it, play with the toy or give it to him/her.
  • Hold up a toy or favorite item and say, “look.” Your child should look at you and then the object. Reward by giving the toy to your child.
  • Blow bubbles and say, “look.” Point as your child traces the bubbles. Blow more bubbles when he/she looks at you, repeat the word “look,” and point.
  • Blow up a balloon, but don’t tie it or let it go. Say, “look,” and release it when your child looks.
  • When your child becomes interested in books, point to a picture and say, “look.” Help your child point to pictures. The goal is for your child to look at you and then the picture. By sharing awareness and interest in the same picture or book you are achieving joint attention.
  • When another family member comes into the room, point and say, “look.” Reward your child for looking with a physical activity, such as tickling or patting.

Your child may need more time to understand what turning his/her head means, so don’t be discouraged if this skill is slow for him/her to learn.²

How to Develop This Skill (ASL)

  • Placing signs into the child’s current focus of attention;
  • Using attention-getting signals (tapping the child, waving towards the child) to establish eye contact before signing;
  • Physically setting up the interaction so that both the parent and the objects can be seen with minimal shifting (for example, sitting across from the child);
  • Waiting for spontaneous looks from the child before signing;
  • Providing relevant signs when the child spontaneously looks up;
  • Giving the child time to explore objects before eliciting attention; and
  • Using specific signs such as LOOK, along with a pleasant, positive manner, to prompt the child that linguistic input is forthcoming.¹


¹Visual Language and Visual Learning Science of Learning Center. (2012, June). Eye Gaze and Joint Attention (Research Brief No. 5). Washington, DC: Amy M. Lieberman

²Mawhinney, L. & McTeague, M.S. (2004). Joint Attention. Early Language Development. Super Duper Publications.

Check It Out! … A Storybook App for Learning ASL

If you’re looking for a new, exciting way to teach your child or student ASL, check out this app, The Baobab, created by some of the foremost researchers and educators in Deaf Education at Gallaudet University.

The-Baobab

Description from iTunes:

The Baobab is an original story about a curious little girl who embarks on an adventure. Complete with enthralling illustrations and talented American Sign Language (ASL) storytelling, this bilingual interactive storybook app features a rich American Sign Language glossary with 170 English to ASL words.
Features:

• Original and charming story told in ASL and English!
• Vivid Retina supported watercolor illustrations.
• Easy & accessible navigation designed for children.
• Rich interactive narrative with direct English to ASL vocabulary video translation.
• Audio voice-over provided for all vocabulary words.
• 170-word American Sign Language glossary! Parents can learn ASL along with their child.
• App design is based on proven research in bilingualism and visual learning. The ability to view the story in both, ASL and English leads to greater literacy skills in both languages in young children.

All the revenues from this app will go towards research and further development of more storybook apps.

Reviews of The Baobab App:

“This storybook app is simply outstanding. The illustrations, the video quality, the story itself – WOW. And it even teaches you ASL!”

“I am a bilingual Deaf person, and this one of the best ASL (American Sign Language)/English books I’ve seen. It is very easy to use and a great way to learn ASL and English. I would highly recommend this for anyone who wants to be bilingual in the two languages.”

“What a top-notch app designed for ASL/English bilinguals and ASL-curious children! The VL2 team have raised the bar for what a quality ASL/English ebook should look like. I especially loved the beautiful loud-popping illustrations. Also, one feature I really appreciated was the uninterrupted ASL story with animated effects in the background. Oh, by the way, the hummingbirds were so cute!

The app does a wonderful job of creating a bridge between American Sign Language and English, giving children the flexibility to learn and use both languages interchangeably. We need MORE of that, so I’m really excited to see what they will come up next! What a great addition to a small yet growing collection of ASL/English eBooks!”

Created by VL2 and Gallaudet University

 

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