A New Way of Experiencing American Sign Language and English
Metaphor, Foreshadowing, Figurative vs Literal Meaning, Point of View Young readers will discover the English meanings by observing the action in the ASL text.  Virtually every page of the books provide educators an opportunity to guide young readers in using the ASL message to identify deeper meaning in the English. Non-signing educators can use the detailed Action Scripts to identify all of the action on each page of the story. Sequencing  Student must be able to understand, describe, and relate the "overall structure of a story, including describing how the beginning introduces the story and the ending concludes the action". http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/RL/2/5 Through the use of visual cues inherent in American Sign Language in ASL Tales, students can clearly identify a story's sequence of events. Characters and events become "real" as the story teller is able to relate through a deeper understanding. Character Development The limitations of traditional children's story books do not allow for in-depth character development.  Characters are seen and/or described in limited words and pictures. ASL Tales uses the facial/body markers of American Sign Language to give a 3-D idea of each character.  Changing emotions can be communicated with just a few markers. Students leave the experience with a more complex picture of the characters.
Enhancing Literacy with ASL Tales
                ASL Tales
Inductive/Deductive Reasoning, Meta- language and Comprehension ASL, like many other languages in the world, is a high context language.  High context languages provide significantly more detail than low context languages (like English). Example from page 2 of The Princess and the Pea: English story - He traveled North.  But the Princess he found did not like warm weather. ASL story - The prince goes up NORTH He goes there and gets cold. He looks for a princess and sees her going by, being pulled by an animal (we know this is a polar bear because of the art). He follows her, runs after her, and says "hi". Pinky uses a gesture to show that the Prince is in love The Princess responds like she's not interested, while holding the reins of the bear, The prince asks her to come HOME  WITH him She answers, "no, I like it here where it's cold." The prince tells the audience that he's disappointed. A competent English reader knows some version of all of these things occur.  Initially children can be encouraged to explore how they know these meanings do are in the English text.  After mastering that, they will benefit from creating the own versions of how the envision the story…using English, ASL or mime (or some combination of the above).
The pairing of ASL and English text makes it easier for your child to learn ASL as well as providing a new path for literacy development. Non-signing educators can use the detailed Action Scripts to identify all of the character transactions on each page of the story. A curriculum guide for classroom use is planned for 2013. Young readers will discover the English meanings by observing the action in the ASL text.  Virtually all pages of the books provide educators with an opportunity to guide readers in using the ASL message to identify deeper meanings in the English texts. We’d love to hear your experiences using ASL Tales to teach English.  Consider becoming a pilot site for ASL Tales research!
© ASL Tales:2015
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