Literacy can be an issue for deaf children, who may have difficulty connecting words to meaning, or whose first language may be ISL.
Whether a child lip-reads or signs, reading is essential for their language development. The trick is to convey a key word through speech and/or sign.
Literacy for deaf infants is the ability to read print, as in written letters for learning English, new concepts and gaining knowledge. Regardless of how a child communicates, their early-years learning needs to include print letters.
Here are some tips for reading with your child.
* Ensure the book can be seen by both of you
* Sit face-to-face where you can see each other – and the book
* Read the story (speech or sign), checking your child’s comprehension
* If your child signs, ISL may be the best way to introduce the story
* Point to the pictures and words as you go (ISL has a different syntax)
* Explain any new words or concepts as necessary
* If your child signs, make sure to match the sign to the right word
* Take it in turns to read the story, speaking or signing as preferred
* Ask your child questions about the story
* Keep it fun!
Flash cards or large posters with pictures and words are great visual aids for the children to remember specific words.
Keeping a home diary is a way of retaining pictures, new words and concepts for reference. Good for teaching actions and new experiences.
Age-appropriate subtitled DVDs, videos or TV programmes can help children develop their reading and written language abilities.
For an ISL-using child, try to find interactive software that asks the child to match English words with individual signs.
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