Wednesday, March 07, 2007

How can ASL help English development? Chapter 1 (NALB)

Barb DiGi shares her created flowchart of a true bilingual model in her series on "No ASL Left Behind" (NALB) based on the interactions of both languages that lead to a higher cognitive thinking level. Deaf students can learn direclty from written English with the support of ASL which is considered the most effective method. It is evident that there is a strong relationship between ASL and reading.

Reference: Rethinking Education of Deaf Students by Sue Livingston.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

You are our Oprah of Deaf teachers!

Julie Rems-Smario

Aidan Mack said...

Where were you when I needed you as my teacher? I am sure you were in teen as me.
You explained it beautifully. Like Julie Rems-Smario said that you are our Oprah of Deaf Teachers.
You are an amazing person with a huge passion in your heart.
I am impressed with your introduction in Video. You are a teacher but I suspect that you have a talent with filmmaking area. It is good thing that you have that because the students need a lot of visual aids. Keep Vlogging. You are a great role model for Teachers of Deaf students.

Carl Schroeder said...

Outstanding!

Joseph Pietro Riolo said...

I probably will be harshly criticized for saying this but the mantra that ASL is the magic language that will improve the English skills is simply untrue.

ASL alone is not enough to improve a deaf child’s English skills. I observed some deaf classmates who were very skilled in ASL and yet, their English skills were not good. I also observed some deaf classmates who were not skilled in ASL and yet, their English skills were very good. Why was there discrepancy between them? My perspective is that the more reading that a deaf child does, the more exposure to the written English language he will get. So, ASL alone is not enough for improving English skills. Also, ASL is not the only language that can improve English skills. Any English-like signing system can be used without any harm to a deaf child’s English skills.

Another important ingredient that very often goes unsaid is the important role of effective teacher. Just because a teacher is skilled in ASL does not necessarily mean that he is effective in teaching.

Joseph Pietro Riolo
josephpietrojeungriolo@gmail.com

Public domain notice: I put all of my expressions in this post in the public domain.

Barb DiGi said...

Thanks everybody for your wonderful support!

Joseph,

I am glad you brought up based on your observation. After teaching deaf children for 15 years and having elementary aged deaf children who master in ASL and English, this experience influenced me to advocate ASL more than ever. So let me tell you why if I can briefly.

Firstly, if you see what I said in my conclusion part, ASL is one of the most effective tools not necessarily ONLY.

Secondly, there are many outside factors causing a deaf child not being able to master English.

* Since we know there are 90% of deaf children of hearing families, they tend not to acquire ASL until later age. The average age may range from 5 to 7 if they are lucky. So language delay is the big cause as we know that critical language learning period occurs from ages 0-2.

* Let's say a deaf child acquired ASL since birth and still is not able to succeed in English, it may have to do with the lack of bridging between ASL and English not to mention the lack of parent involvement. Also it has to do with IQ capacity. There are even hearing people who could not even produce correct grammar and spelling just because of their learning disabilities, families who don't invest in education, etc. Anyway back to the point..
Do hearing parents actually read books to their deaf child every night? Imagine if they did using ASL (if they could) and showing print English simultaneously allowing their deaf child to click between two languages, what do you think it will become for that deaf child? I don't mean to boast but I have done a lot with my deaf children and they are so ahead with both languages. I bet you a dollar that it is not common for parents to read to their deaf child.

Thirdly, I have seen deaf children who master in English but not in ASL and there are some possible explanation for this. One is that it is common for them to have some amount of hearing that they can take advantage to pick up English in a natural way or was completely hearing earlier in their years allowing them to acquire English as their first language. The other is that the way their brain is programmed that may weigh heavily on the auditory part that their learning style is preferred.

Today there are more research showing it is effective when we bridge ASL to English and vice versa. Not many teachers of the deaf have this background training or understanding how to do it effectively, unfortunately, but we are gearing into this direction as there are bilingual programs, i.e. Fairview and STAR (now AELPD)providing bridging methods between ASL and English.

What I agree with you is that it takes an effective teacher to be fluent in both languages and know how to use the tools effectively. Like I said in my vlog, reading is the key to facilitate English but we need to use ASL as a tool to enhance comprehension.

Barinthus said...

Jim Cummins and Stephen Krashen are smiling.

That is exactly what we're studying at UCSD's Education Studies graduate program.

Riolo - I do agree that just being fluent in ASL does not suffice for being a good teacher. Also, of course, students should be exposed to the printed English while they build up their ASL mastery. As for your observations - there are always exceptions. However the current system is failing our deaf students, period. We need more healthy bilingual-bicultural programs in which ASL is honored and respected as an equal to English or other languages.

Dave Smith said...

Not to worry Joseph, I for one agree with you. Just knowing a first language (L1) whether ASL or English does not automatically translate into learning to read. However, it does allow one to mediate the process of learning to read which is what Barb is trying to say. Since deaf kids have difficulty using spoken English, ASL provides an accessible tool. Like any tool, one must know how to wield it effectively in order to get good results.
Steve Nover and CAEBER have been working for the past several years on helping schools and teachers become effective at using bilingual approaches to literacy. This was something that was missing back when "Bi/Bi" first became a buzzword but nobody had any evidence-based practices yet. Hopefully, we will be seeing positive results soon.

Barinthus said...

DiGi, I'd like to add to your comment above.

Research regarding bilingual programs where students from Spanish-speaking families are instructed in Spanish show that while they often appear to be "behind" in English during their elementary years they do catch up rapidly by the time they enter high school.

It has something to do with the difference between BICS and CALP aspects of English language usage. To acquire CALP level of English language takes considerable amount of time.

I see no reason why this can't apply toward Deaf children. Also there are tons of other factors to consider - are there communication at home? Appropriate level of communication? Registers? What about programs those students are in? And so on.

Barb DiGi said...

Barinthus,

Exactly, exactly! Thanks for raising the BICS and CALP aspects and these elements do indeed apply to deaf children.

Like I mentioned earlier in my comments, there are always factors to consider on what makes an individual successful in mastering English.

Deaf Niches said...

Hi, a coincidence that you brought it up, because today I had a 2-hour meeting with the elementary school's supervising teacher (or principal, as some would call her) about Bi/Bi philosophy, CALP, etc., and we talked about CAEBER. ISD sends out teachers to the workshops called ASL/English Bilingual Professional Development (AEBPD)under CAEBER where they learn the methologies and they come back and implement the methologies in the classrooms. I have two textbooks that the principal graciously loaned to me this morning and I am going to read them, since my daughter is FLUENT in ASL.

Barb made a point about the exemptions, since in a way it applies to my profoundly deaf son who was born hearing, so his learning style is auditory/verbal (and excellent in English, reads at 8th grade level, writes lyrics, etc., and he is in 4th grade, mainstreamed.) Right or wrong? Nope, it just happens to be the influences of the environment, wittingly and unwittingly.

Joseph Pietro Riolo said...

It was not clear from your vlog that ASL is not the only effective tool. I looked at the quotation "one of the most effective tool" in the last part of your vlog few times and I tried to figure out whether you meant that ASL is the most effective tool or ASL is one of the most effective tools, forgetting to add the plural ending to the word "tool". Your note below vlog led me to believe that you saw ASL as the most effective tool.

Now that your comment clarified your position where you did not see ASL as the only effective tool, I see where I misunderstood you in my comment.

Regarding the deaf kids who mastered English skills very well even though they were not exposed to ASL, there are really simple explanations for this. One explanation is that they had good communication with their hearing parents who used an English-like signing system. Other explanation is a lot of exposure to the English language that appears visually through the written form. This is true even if some of them had no hearing since birth.

I do not deny that the bilingual program really works. I have seen the evidence where it can help deaf kids improve their English skills beyond the often-said fourth grade level. However, I have not seen the evidence where bilingual program is sufficient to bring their English skills to twelfth grade level. It seems that the program has a kind of ceiling where a different strategy is necessary to break through the ceiling. I could be wrong.

Joseph Pietro Riolo
josephpietrojeungriolo@gmail.com

Public domain notice: I put all of my expressions in this post in the public domain.

Barb DiGi said...

Hi Karen,

I thought of your son when talking about this. It is not often to hear that a deaf child from a deaf family selects auditory/verbal use over visual use, ASL, that is. Based on my observation, it is more typical for deaf children, who are mostly visual learners, thrive from a visual language, ASL.

Now speaking of content area....

Do you think that somehow the exposure of ASL had has played a role of influence in gaining knowledge since I understand he is now profoundly deaf? He may rely on ASL but he still expresses in a verbal way, right? Would he survive if he relies on lipreading alone, spoken English that is?

Joseph,

My bad! Yes, it's supposed to be tools not tool. I did write tools on my flow chart and this was a part that was an oversight, dang! English can be a pain in the a**!

As for Signed English, I do believe that it does play a role in facilitating English as well. I think it is just important to keep in mind that a deaf child is able to code-switch and experience a varied communication modes. I strongly believe that the more meaningful dialogue a deaf child has, the more knowledge s/he gains and the more s/he reads will lead to success in literacy.

I share the same concern as you. We all want to see deaf students thrive in ASL and English as we all have the same goal. I believe you will agree that ASL doesn't mean one's English skills will be hindered.

So tell me what would be your strategy to "break through the ceiling?" Are you a teacher by the way? Based on what experience have you picked up from?

Carl Schroeder said...

I would like to comment that English can be taught through any language. I first learned to acquire my English through the Dutch language because I was born there. I think Joseph is extremely unfair in his assessment that Deaf friends of his who are proficient in ASL do poorly in English. To date, I have yet to see a complete k-12 curriculum that focuses on ASL. Let's suppose that there is a bilingual/bicultural program that develops Deaf students in both languages. Something remarkable would materialize. Joseph couldn't help himself but promote language bigotry as he did in his comment above.

John F. Egbert said...

Barb,
I am glad to see you talk about this and we need more of this discussion about Bilingual and how important it is. There are people that will debate about this and it is a good education for many other readers like myself.

One more thing, 70% of the deaf child's language/education actually comes from their parents and I was surprised that many, many hearing parents do not have the ability to communicate with their deaf children because they have their deaf child to learn to speak rather themselves(parents) to learn sign language.

It's ironically that a deaf child that can't hear well are forced to learn to speak while parents can see visually and doesn't want to learn sign language. And then after the deaf child fails to learn to speak like a hearing person, s/he will have a problem learning English language because of no cognitive language established as of yet.

So, it is so important for a deaf child to have a bona fide language to start with which is ASL.

John F. Egbert

Jana Bielfeldt said...

Dr Jean Andrews from Lamar University would love to hear this. I hope she sees your vlog. I support Bi Bi approach in the classroom. Enjoyed it and look forward to next chapter.

Joseph Pietro Riolo said...

No, I am not a teacher. I do not even have any degree in educational field. I am just a concerned parent positioned somewhere in the low stratum of educational institution.

I want to emphasize that it is only a question that I have about the ceiling of bilingual program. There is no question that bilingual program improves the average of English skills among deaf kids. But, I wonder if bilingual program has any upper boundary where it is extremely difficult to move the average beyond it. I will give an example of ceiling.

Last night, during our discussion about reading, my son asked me if reading comics would help improving English skills. Reading comics was suggested as a way to help deaf kids' reading skills in several blogs. I expressed my opinion that reading comics could improve deaf kids' grade level of English skills by up to 2 levels. The lower the deaf kids' grade level is, the more helpful reading comics will be. For example, if a deaf kid's grade level of English skills is at fourth grade, reading comics can help him improve his grade level to sixth grade at most. I don't think that reading comics will be any more helpful beyond his sixth grade level. On the other hand, if a deaf kid's grade level is at ninth grade, reading comics will be less beneficial for him. It may help him improve his grade level only by a fraction of next level. If my opinion is correct, reading comics has an upper boundary of two grade levels. In other words, there is a ceiling on reading comics. In order for the deaf kid to go beyond the upper boundary, he has to read more difficult reading materials, for example.

The following quotations make me wonder if bilingual program has any ceiling:

"The point here is that, although the content area of the subject being tested obviously needs to be mastered in deaf and hard of hearing students' course work or in on-the-job training, it is still quite likely that such students or workers, though quite competent in their field, will fail a certification test simply because of the difficulty in understanding subtle distinctions in the written language of the test." (p. 368-369)

"Her problem was that certain English terms and grammatical constructions puzzled her and made her choices somewhat uncertain and, in many instances, apparently wrong." (p. 369)

Both quotations come from "Fort Monroe Revisited" by Robert Clover Johnson in the Summer 2006 issue of Sign Language Studies. This article did not talk about education or linguistics but it talked about the difficulties that deaf and hard of hearing professionals in passing professional certification and licensing examinations.

I quoted the above statements to point out that it is extremely important for deaf children to target at twelfth grade level of English skills and be able to pass the examinations. Again, it is only a question that I have for bilingual program's ceiling. It could be that there is no ceiling. Or, it could be that bilingual program has a ceiling. If that is so, the teachers and parents need to be prepared for it and find ways to break through the ceiling.

To Mr. Schroeder,

Providing a counterpoint is not necessarily a sign of language bigotry. There are mixed results on ASL as the sole or primary role in improving English skills. The article "Is It Time to Look beyond Teachers' Signing Behavior?" by C. Tane Akamatsu, David A. Stewat, and Connie Mayer in the Spring 2002 issue of Sign Language Studies provided an overview on the role of ASL and English signing systems in English skills and literacy. It contains a wealth of good information that it does not do any justification to them to quote just few sentences. My overall impression that I got from the article is that ASL is not a magic that will cure all the shortcomings in educating deaf children.

Joseph Pietro Riolo
josephpietrojeungriolo@gmail.com

Public domain notice: I put all of my expressions in this post in the public domain. This notice does not extend to the quotations.

Joseph Pietro Riolo said...

Two corrections:

I wrote:

"This article did not talk about education or linguistics but it talked about the difficulties that deaf and hard of hearing professionals in passing professional certification and licensing examinations."

It should be written as:

"This article did not talk about education or linguistics but it talked about the difficulties that deaf and hard of hearing professionals encountered in passing professional certification and licensing examinations." (Adding the missing verb "encountered".)

I misspelled the last name of David who is a co-author of the second article that I referred to. His last name is Stewart, not Stewat. My apology to him.

Joseph Pietro Riolo
josephpietrojeungriolo@gmail.com

Public domain notice: I put all of my expressions in this post in the public domain.

Susan said...

Wonderful!!! I loved your flowchart and detailed description. Thank you so much for sharing.
I'm comfortable with this method.

Let you know about my most recent vlog on literacy in the 1870's, it's in http://auslan-resources.blogspot.com/2007/03/comparing-deaf-literacy-in-1870s-and.html

I'd love your thoughts and comments on this. Is the info in my vlog going backwards or?

thanks much :)

Deaf Niches said...

Hi Barb! Yes, my son just lost another 15 dB after we moved and he is not too happy about it. So you could say that it contributed to his ongoing struggle with his identity.

Yes, I am waiting for him to make the decision to acquire ASL. So far, I have not seen him trying, preferring to listen and talk. He has an ASL interpreter, so he is absorbing ASL and when he expresses, it is mostly verbal, yeah. As the principal from ISD who has had similiar experiences like my son is having right now told me, it is his journey alone, and it would be wise for parents to let the child lead sometimes and it is the time for us to let him go for now.

His English level(spoken, read, and written) is WAY above. There is NO delay in his academic skills...It would be unfair if I compared him to other deaf children of his age, that would be judging, because all deaf children are different, not better nor worse. If he were born deaf, ASL would be a lot easier and more natural for him to absorb, like it is for my daughter who is born deaf (or hard of hearing, either way.)

I won't be surprised if he decides to accept his deafness and then things would be clicking for him, realizing that he could talk and listen in the hearing world and uses ASL in the deaf world, either way... a nice bridge.

Joesph, I BELIEVE the success of the education of children... hearing, deaf, blind, etc.... LIES with the parents. From reading your comments, it sounds like you are doing a great job. I just found out that very FEW parents are activily involved in the children's academics... more parents are involved in the community and helping/volunteering out at ISD, but not questioning, wanting to know how they could help children to succeed at both home and school, etc.

I did encourage my son to read comics when he was younger, since they were very visual and helpful in developing an understanding of sequences and vocabulary. Teaching academics through ASL to my son does not work now, nope, but it WORKS for my daughter who is above grade level now at ISD.

Joeseph, why don't you contact CAEBER (in New Mexico) and ask to talk to the educators there? From my understanding, Bi-Bi philosophy is still a new concept. ISD is finally sending out the teachers to the workshops to learn how to use methologies of Bi/Bi philosophy. ISD wants to graduate its students with above 8th grade reading level (the average reading level for HEARING high school graduates is 8th grade, not 12th grade; it is a goal for ISD to reach to, and hopefully up to 12th grade level.)

Deaf Niches said...

One more thing... Joseph, the teacher CANNOT do everything for the child. She/he cannot be held responsible for the child's successes/failures... parents are responsible also. If the parents and teachers have an interactive relationship, constant communication, etc., the child will succeed. I am speaking in response to one of your comments.

John F. Egbert said...

Joseph,
We all learn from people about language but there are some people that claim to have ASL skills such as teachers of the deaf, etc. We have no way to know for sure if this person really know ASL. Many teachers of the deaf learned signs and use English structure because ASL is too complicated just like learning English language which is why it's far more easier to learn signs and use English structure.

You might ask, Who should I listen or learn from?..., the real genuine bilingual people, the ones that knows both language, not from people from AGBell that have no concept what ASL is about and tell parents that sign language(ASL) should not be used for their deaf child.

Joseph, you seem to be a very good parent to your deaf child and I know that your child will be fine. Just keep an open mind and balance your perspective on the jargon philosophy of different people's perspective about ASL.

John F. Egbert

Deaf Niches said...

Hey, I did not answer your question about lipreading. He still resists the idea of lipreading, preferring to rely on listening. With his rapidly progressive hearing loss, he will one day be forced to train himself to use his eyes more. As long as his hearing aids benefit him, he's avoiding the lipreading task.

He does complain about the loudness of cafeteria occasionally and I did tell him to try lipreading instead of trying to listen through the background noises and he said no flatly. I did include the lipreading skills in his IEP, especially for mainstreaming.

So, I don't know. I believe that one day he will finally face the fact that he is indeed a deaf person, that he is part of bilingual/bicultural deaf minority. I cannot force him... it is his life and his journey.

Jessica said...

Hi Barb,

Wonderful presentation! Only one suggestion I can say is make the words a bit bigger to read and stay a bit longer enough to finish reading it. Some sentences were big enough but others were too small for me to read. Maybe I need new glasses?

I also support bilingual/bicultural method very much. I feel that ASL is the language to use to effectively learn English. Right, it is not the ONLY way to but it is one of the most effective tools there is. It enhances and supports other tools in learning to read and write.

I visited a middle school classroom some years ago. They were reading a book together. Each person had a book for himself. When they came up to something like, say, "sauntered". They would stop and discuss ASL sign for "saunter" and compare to other ways of walking. I thought it was a wonderful way to make the vocabulary visual through ASL. I don't think you could have accomplished that in Signed English or anything else. I could see how their vocabulary expand from this.

Are there new and updated research and studies that we could check out?

Joseph Pietro Riolo said...

I think I need to mention some background information to emphasize that I have nothing against the bilingual model. I have seen first-hand on how bilingual model can help deaf kids improve their English skills. Some years ago (I forgot which year – probably around 2000), Todd Czubek who was from New Mexico School for the Deaf set up a bilingual program at Scranton State School for the Deaf in Scranton, Pennsylvania that all of my three deaf children are attending. Some support services were obtained from Dr. Robert J. Hoffmeister's team at Boston University. Every year, my children were tested on their ASL and English skills by Dr. Kristin DiPerri. I was able to see the progress in their ASL and English skills. I was impressed with my two oldest children who went well beyond the fourth-grade level in English skills. My third child is in first grade due to some developmental delay known as PDD-NOS and I will wait and see how he will progress during the next few years.

However, much work needs to be done with my two oldest children's English skills. This is where I was wondering about the ceiling of bilingual program. My oldest son who is now a senior at the deaf school was a little disappointed that he could not enter the bachelor program of electrical engineering at RIT because his ACT score was less than the minimum requirement for the bachelor program. He did not satisfy the requirement for pre-baccalaureate program that NTID offers for students who want to enter a bachelor program after one year. Instead, he was accepted for the 2+2 transfer program that will result in a bachelor degree in technology (BET) instead of science (BS). As a parent, of course, I gave him encouragement to try for BS degree when he will start studying at NTID this fall. I cautioned him that a lot of work would be required from him. In other words, it is not going to be an easy ride.

I provided the background information to show that I have a strong belief in the bilingual program as one, but not the only, effective way to improve English skills among the deaf kids. But at the same time, I was wondering if bilingual program alone is sufficient for deaf kids who are bound for colleges like RIT. If it is not sufficient, what needs to be done in addition to the bilingual program?

Joseph Pietro Riolo
josephpietrojeungriolo@gmail.com

Public domain notice: I put all of my expressions in this post in the public domain.

Anonymous said...

questions for joesph-

many teachers cannot pass the sign proficiency test or asl proficiency test.
should they be teaching deaf children?

sure they are graduates of teacher training programs.
is that enough??
do the minimum and the rest will take care of itself?

who should be language and role models for deaf children?

how do we accomplish this?

probably no cure but there must be a starting point supported by empirical evidence or best practices.

where do we start?

in Hell ? many of us had been there..some still are there...

try out charter schools, or creative arrangements?
maybe yes

what do you suggest?

Joseph Pietro Riolo said...

I will try to answer some of the questions that the anonymous writer asked.

It is still a question whether the minimum standard for teachers for the deaf (passing sign proficiency test and possessing a certificate for teaching deaf students) is a way to improve the English skills among deaf kids. I have my own anecdotes where I spotted some grammatical errors in writings done by deaf teachers who are fluent in ASL and possess a certificate. My own gut feeling is that requiring the minimum standard may improve English skills by several levels but by how many levels it can improve remains a question.

In a bilingual program, the role model should be the people who are fluent in ASL. The bilingual program at my children’s deaf school hired several Deaf people as role model for the deaf kids at the school. What they do is that they go to different classes and explain the concepts to the kids in ASL when teachers are not able to do the same. Some of the teachers are not fluent in ASL and this is one reason why the role model is used in the program.

Quantitative measurements are very important. This is why Dr. Kristin DiPerri tests deaf kids every year to measure the progress. If there is not enough progress, there is something wrong with the program and it has to be rectified. Also, the test allows her to advise the English teachers on how to improve each deaf individual’s weak points.

Charter school is one possible way to approach the problem. But, I have not seen any quantitative measurements to see how effective it is. Where I leave is not really a good place to start a charter school due to small population. Charter school needs to draw enough deaf students to keep it viable.

I could try creative arrangements but there is too much politics in the educational institution. Teachers through unions and politics hold too much power over parents. The only way that changes can happen is going through the political machine, meaning that the changes must come from teachers themselves.

I once dreamed about setting up a national cyberschool where deaf students all over the U.S. can attend online classes with the choice of having teachers who are proficient in ASL or English-like signing systems. That way, they will not be at disadvantage due to the location and politics in their area. It is still a dream though.

Joseph Pietro Riolo
josephpietrojeungriolo@gmail.com

Public domain notice: I put all of my expressions in this post in the public domain.

Deaf Niches said...

Barb, glad you brought Bi/Bi up... because it concerns moslty the future of the deaf education. Joseph has some cool ideas, cyberschool which deaf students could have classes (would have to be the college-level kind though.)

Keep vlogging... I am waiting for Chapter 2 now :) .

Adrean Clark said...

Typing as a deaf parent of hearing children, I totally agree that ASL is one of the most accessible languages one could use to teach children -- to communicate, period. (The ASL classes I teach are told that one would have to be blind and completely paralyzed and numb to not be able to use ASL in any way. :) )

I appreciate the flow charts and the book, but I do wonder where I can see more models for bilingual reading/communication with children in the home and at school? Are there online resources about that? Specifically, videos with ASL models for the public?

One book I just finished reading is Raising Self-Reliant Children in a Self-Indulgent World. It has many excellent points about communicating with children, and one of those points is regarding listening. Too often we direct or order our children without inviting open communication and that causes them to be deficient in listening skills --- listening is important in regards to reading skills, and perhaps that is why Deaf (and hearing) children suffer much because much communication and teaching tends to be a one-way street. i.e. "Learn this as I tell you and don't bother answering because I know better than you."

Perhaps one could say that Deaf parents of Deaf children tend to be more communicative because of being starved for communication while younger -- they tend to learn in the residential schools that communication is key. Hence, more developed listening skills. It translates excellent for hearing children of deaf parents because they have full access in school whereas deaf children tend to be stunted by the educational system in regards to English expectations.

There have been incidences of native ASL users spontaneously developing advanced English skills later in life, upon a more conductive learning environment. My husband, himself DeafBlind, decided around age 11 to read Ken Follett's the Pillars of the Earth despite his only having lower elementary-level English skills. He grew to be a publisher and now is an accomplished writer. It has happened to others, some after college when they are given room to study and make the "Aha!" connection on their own.

Myself, I was born deaf, learned English first because my parents read with me. My mom's sisters were teachers and librarians so books were foisted on me from an early age. I learned ASL later in 8th grade at the school for the deaf. :)

Anyhow, the book, Raising Self-Reliant Children in a Self-Indulgent World certainly is one I suggest for the tips on open communication with children.

Sorry for digressing, but hopefully more information about models for reading with children can be shared?

Symansky family said...

Hands waving to your awesome Vlogs!!! You I*N*S*P*I*R*E me to do my own Vlogs with my 3 Deaf kids in their storytimes, daily routine and their creative drama/play.

Bilingual approach is the most effective tool in educating deaf children, I agree 110%. I took 2 years in the 'STAR' project - the current CABEAR (sp)and have good understanding of this approach/view along with my 10 years teaching at the three deaf schools. As a proud mom to my 3 Deaf kids who came home at age 3 with no languages, It's so amazing to witness my children's ASL skills growing quickly in so short time. My oldest son's literacy skills (reading and writing is at the par with his non-deaf peers. My second son is at the par with the non-deaf peers in all academic subjects. My daughter is catching up rapidly.. Soon or later, she will be there (she is still a preschooler).

And, the bilingual deaf school is not where they are now at. I sure wish I could place them there. My children are so fortunate being in the bilingual community (Deaf parents, strong Deaf community, Deaf church, Deaf of Deaf peers, Deaf adopted peers, and so forth).

I'm excited about doing the Vlogs in near future for others to see how Deaf children express themselves in ASL and English. Once again, thank you very much for doing this wonderful vlogs geared to the Bilingual approach, Deaf education, Deaf children, and the true bilingual reading time.

Any tips for me to get started doing the vlogs? It's totally NEW to me, and I plan to take some classes in the computer field this summer. Thanks! Kim