Story Time and Sign Language

22 Mar

As part of the Summer Reading Program this summer we are providing preschoolers with a 4-week bilingual story time session .  We are going to be focusing on French, Spanish, either Hindi or Chinese depending on who we can find to help us and American Sign Language (ASL).

Now I know what a lot of people are thinking… ASL is not a foreign language – but guess what.  It is.  And although it’s not a written language it is considered another language.  There have been a number of studies done that have shown how teaching sign language to young children actually increases their vocabulary and allows them to communicate at an earlier age.

I’ll be the storyteller for the ASL Story Time and although I’m not a fluent signer (I wish!) I am really excited about this prospect!  I think I’ll be signing Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do you Hear? as well as Dr. Seuss’s My Many Colored Days and to finish I’m planning on using the book Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!

I’ve been using this great resource entitled Try Your Hands at This: Easy Ways to Incorporate Sign Language into Your Programs.  This book offers great programs for all ages – including middle school students and I think I’m going to try out some of these ideas at my next middle school meeting.  Rather than trying to yell to get attention, I think I’ll try signing – it will at least throw the kids off for a minute.

I was also able to find a video on YouTube of someone signing Brown Bear, Brown Bear.  This is such a great resource because you can really see how the signs are supposed to look, plus the story is so repetitive that the signs are really easy to learn.

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