2nd Annual


GBYSlogoGeorgia Hands & VoicesGAHVlogo

Guide By Your Side Program

Sunday, May 15th, 2016


We cordially invite families of Deaf/HH children to meet at the park on this day to celebrate achievements, strengthen bonds & meet new families!


GBYS Parent Guides will be at the following parks that day:

Biello Park (North Ga)              Carl Miller Park                  EvansTown Center

250 Brooke Blvd,                       (Central/South Ga)            (East Ga)

Woodstock, Ga. 30188               74 Sewell Road                    7016 Evans Town

 (Same location as                               Newnan. Ga. 30263              Center Blvd.

Twin Creeks Softball complex)                                                     Evans, Ga. 30809


*RSVP not necessary, but if you can respond on our Facebook page, text, or email that would be great in case we need to contact you due to weather/etc.

Parent Guide Contacts:

Woodstock Location-Sara Price 470-991-9138 or sprice@doe.k12.ga.us ;

Newnan Location- Kelly Cashion  kcashion@doe.k12.ga.us;

Evans/Augusta Location-Beth Flaherty-706-829-3053 or EFlaherty@doe.k12.ga.us


Language and Literacy: Our Homeschool Journey

I shared briefly about the decision our family made to pull our son out of the public school system this year. First, let me share it was not a decision we made because we were unhappy.  His teachers were nothing short of amazing.  The school he attended welcomed and worked closely with us as we navigated his diagnosis.  So, why did we pull him out?  Primarily because I, his mama, missed him.  He would come home happy but exhausted.  He has spent his short life in therapies and schools and I felt he needed an environment that allowed some time for him to just be a kid.  I also have homeschooled my daughter since she was in Kindergarten so the idea was not new to our family.  That being said, I waited until I felt I was ready and until I got my head wrapped around one particular concern regarding D/HH kids: READING.

Language and literacy in the world of D/HH kids is a hot topic.  I recently attended the EHDI Conference in San Diego and one of the Plenary Speakers was Rachel Coleman from Signing Time.  I believe she say's it best:

"If you said that about any other group of people nobody would believe it.  They wouldn't put up with it for a minute and it would be on the news every night.  But for some reason, when you say 'I'm sorry, your child is deaf.  They are going to graduate with a third grade reading level', nobody has questioned it.  How sad is that?"

In the State of Georgia, I am happy to share we are questioning this statistic.  Conversations around tables are happening and I as a parent am incredibly grateful.  I also know conversations around tables need time to develop and be implemented.

So today, I want to share with you what is working in our home.  After months of research, I contacted Memoria Press and after many questions they agreed to provide our family with the following resources:

They are an amazing company to work with and listened as I explained to them the complexities of teaching our kids how to read.  Kellan is bilaterally implanted but has to have sign support.  I am working beside his therapists and for some of his articulation/speech goals to be worked on and mastered he is also learning the basics of grammar.  So, in our house we use English, American Sign Language (ASL), and Signed Exact English (SEE).  I am not an expert in any of these languages.  For the most part, we learn together and keep ASL and SEE vocabulary dictionaries close.

We are finishing up Book C of First Start Reading and are very happy with his progress.  The lessons within the workbook vary.  We began the program with Kellan already knowing the letters and their sounds.  When new letters are introduced we use this time to review and work on articulation.

One of the most beneficial exercises for Kellan is what they term Ear Training.  This practice consists of me asking:  Which words begin or end with /g/:  boat, goat, bug, cup, dog, girl, gift, bag, book?

I have found it works best to have him identify the word and placement of the phoneme and then repeat the word.  This has helped me communicate to his therapist his weaknesses in articulation.  For example:  He will identify 'goat' as starting with a /g/ but will repeat it 'doat' with a /d/.  When we find the letter sounds he struggles to produce,  I pull the phonetic card and we keep it close as he works through the lesson.  

The lessons progress to blending word families and into reading sentences/stories. The teachers manual provides comprehension questions to be asked at the end of each short story as well as things to point out while reading.  For example:  What is the title of the story?  How many paragraphs are in this story?  How do we read sentences that end with an exclamation point?

Dictation is another component and probably the most challenging for Kellan.  The short vowels /e/ and /i/ are almost impossible for him to distinguish.  The phonetic cards have proved to be invaluable and he is making progress.  They also introduce common words (sight words) in each lesson.  I happened upon an ASL secret sight word download on Teachers Pay Teachers (TPT) and will print the words as they are introduced and we use them to review.

I wanted to include a video of Kellan's achievement and hope it is an encouragement to you!  Daily we spend approximately 30 minutes working through this curriculum.  Also, for those who are wondering, Kellan received his first implant at age two and his second at age three.  This makes his hearing age equivalent to that of a 3/4 year old.

Don't forget to check out Memoria Press!

Also, they have AMAZING book lists.  If you click on any grade level they have Read Aloud Packages with the book lists included.  I took a screen shot of each grade of my kiddo's to have with me when we venture to the library.  Great literature!

Disclosure:  I was provided all the material listed in exchange for a fair and honest review.  No additional compensation was given.