Language and Literacy

Research has shown that the children will thrive in academics and have strong literacy skills with early language exposure for young children. See below for some tips on how to support language and literacy development. 

This video, created by the California School for the Deaf Early Childhood Education Department, demonstrates several strategies that can be used while storytelling in ASL.

The 15 Principles for Reading to Deaf Children - Reading to Deaf Children; Learning from Deaf Adults

David R. Schleper outlines 15 principles for adults to use when reading to deaf and hard of hearing children. The research is based on what deaf parents do when reading to their deaf and hard of hearing children. In addition, there are suggestions for classroom applications of these reading principles and links to various supportive research.

Leading from Behind: Language Experience in Action

A young deaf boy uses ASL to describe his favorite part of "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle.

Language Experience is a strategy to develop and reinforce reading and writing by using a learner's personal experiences and natural language. In this approach, the students themselves initiate experiences through projects and other resulting interactive activities. In their authentic language, students dictate their experiences to the teacher who translates their story into written English. With this documentation as a basic material for reading and writing instruction, the teacher helps the students see the connection between what they signed and what was written. The teacher uses this language experience to develop new vocabulary, comprehension, and the basics of English grammar. At the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center, Language Experience is one of the nine areas of the literacy program.

Strategies and Tips to Support the Development of Literacy

Each student brings a unique grasp of spoken English, American Sign Language (ASL), or both to the reading process. It is important to understand a child's language and communication strengths and weaknesses and how they apply to the reading process. In this way, appropriate strategies can be integrated throughout the child's educational program to promote the development of literacy. No matter which overall literacy development program is used, the strategies and tips discussed here can support the literacy development of students who are deaf or hard of hearing.