I hope you had fun reading with your littles during our first week of reading Peter Rabbit together! If you have not yet done so, please take time to read the following: 15 Principles for Reading to Deaf Children. Last week we focused on the first 2 suggestions this article articulates.
1. Deaf readers translate stories using ASL.
2. Deaf readers keep both languages visible.
If you did not get a chance to watch the ASL Storytelling I highly suggest taking a few minutes. In our home, one story led to an hour of my son watching and listening to books being read. Which translated into me having a few minutes of quiet time to catch up on "mom" things.
This week we will be reading and re-reading the story. Why do we do this?
"These rereadings coincide with the way children learn. Like their parents, they are most comfortable with the familiar, and when they are relaxed, they're better able to absorb. The repetition improves their vocabulary, sequencing, and memory skills. Research shows that preschoolers often ask as many questions (and sometimes the same questions) after a dozen readings of the same book, because they are learning language in increments not all at once. Each reading often brings an inch or two of meaning to the story." Trelease (1995)
Also, follow your childs lead. For example:
My son gets excited when he sees/hears exclamation points in the text. When Mr. McGregor is running after Peter he exclaims "Stop theif!" As I read to him, the tone and pitch of my voice change and I exaggerate my signing. He points to the words in the book and asks...what is that word. He is pointing to THEIF. We discuss the word and move on. The next day we were not able to finish the book because we again stopped on this word and we begin dialoguing about what it means to be a thief.
What was Peter taking that was not his?
Is this good or bad?
Is Peter in trouble?
Are you a thief?
Another cool outcome from this dialogue occurred while we were in the car. We are currently listening to The Lord of the Rings as we drive to and from therapies. We do this primarily for my older daughter and these CD's are available at the library for free. One day, as we listened Kellan said, "Mommy what did he say?" I was not sure what he was talking about so we backed up a few pages and sure enough we hear..."Stop thief!" Then the questions begin:
What did he take?
Why did he take it?
What is a ring?
You have a ring, are you a thief?
Why did daddy give you a ring?
Why did daddy give you a ring?
What does ring mean?
This friends is how language develops! It does not have to be complicated. It does not cost money. If I am being completely honest, I never in my wildest dreams even thought as we listened to books in the car that he was listening or could hear the story. The car is one of our most difficult places to communicate. He simply heard ONE WORD that now had meaning to him due to our time spent with Peter Rabbit. Never underestimate the power of one word, one book, or one afternoon or evening cuddled on the couch communicating with these amazing babies we've been given. Enjoy every minute with them!