Picture Books About ASL and Deafness

Dad and Me in the Morning by Patricia Lakin. (Whitman, 1994)

Early one morning, when it is still dark, a young boy wakes to his special alarm clock. He puts on his hearing aid and his clothes, then goes to wake his father. Together they walk down to the beach. Jacob cannot hear, so he and his father sign or lipread or just squeeze each other’s hands. This poetic story is beautifully illustrated in glowing watercolors.

The Garden Wall by Phyllis Limbacher Tildes. (Charlesbridge, 2006)

Tim is taken aback when he learns that his new neighbor is not only a girl, but is also deaf. When he is assigned to work with her to perform a fable at school, he’s nervous – but as he gets to know Maria, their performance of “The Hearing Country Mouse and the Deaf City Mouse” comes together, and they become friends. This story introduces some basic sign language as well as information about the technology used by Deaf people.

The Handmade Alphabet by Laura Rankin (Dial Books, 1991)

To celebrate the expressiveness of ASL, artist Laura Rankin presents her striking interpretation of the manual alphabet. Here, the hand that signs “V” holds a valentine, “I” points to delicate icicles, and “O” dangles a shining ornament.

The Handmade Counting Book by Laura Rankin. (Dial Books, 1998)

The acclaimed author of “The Handmade Alphabet” now presents a book that pairs American Sign Language signs for the numbers 1-20, 25, 50, 75, and 100 with beautifully drawn objects.

Handtalk Zoo by George Ancona & Mary Beth. (Four Winds Press, 1989)

As they make their way through the zoo, a group of children sign and fingerspell the names of the animals. In addition to signing animal names, the telling of time is expressed with the signing of numbers 1–12 in a clocklike shape. Vibrant color photographs depict the action of the story and the signing, while black-and-white insets show the fingerspelling.

The Moses books by Isaac Millman (Farrar Straus & Giroux): Moses Goes to a Concert (1998), Moses Goes to School (2000) , Moses Goes to the Circus (2003), Moses Sees a Play (2004)

These excellent picture books incorporate basic sign language instruction into stories of a little boy named Moses, who is deaf. The illustrations are child- friendly and clearly depict the signs, which are related to the story. Of special note is Moses Goes to School, which offers a look at everyday life in a school for the deaf.

The Printer by Myron Uhlberg (Peachtree, 2003)

This unique picture book presents the tale of a deaf printer who, through the use of American Sign Language, is able to communicate with other deaf printers over the roar of the printing presses, and save their hearing counterparts from a fire.

Secret Signs: Along the Underground Railroad by Anita Riggio. (Boyds Mills Press, 1997)

In the mid-1800s, Luke and his mother help support themselves by making panoramic eggs of maple sugar. When a man bursts into their home and accuses them of hiding slaves, Luke’s mother denies the charges–although she is planning to meet her contact on the Underground Railroad that very day. With his mother held at home, Luke, who is deaf, must use his resources and creative talents to help make the connection.

Sesame Street Sign Language ABC with Linda Bove (Random House, 1985)

A perennial favorite, this book offers both colorful illustrations and crisp, full- color photos of deaf actress Linda Bove performing the signs.

Great Websites for Signing with Young Children

Sign With Your Baby

http://www.sign2me.com    Dr. Joseph Garcia’s official website features discussion groups, products, and the latest research showing how signing benefits both deaf and hearing babies.

Signing Savvy

http://www.signingsavvy.com  This online video dictionary of signs is clear, accurate, and easy to use. Though the free access is limited to five searches per day, you can access as many signs as you want through the alphabetical index.

Signing Time

http://www.signingtime.com/ The online home of the highly recommended “Signing Time” DVD series features downloadable song lyrics, FAQ pages, and lots of activities for kids.

Multicultural Storytime Magic

Multicultural Storytime Magic cover

Multicultural Storytime Magic by Kathy MacMillan & Christine Kirker (ALA Editions, 2012)

Storytime audiences grow ever more diverse, and materials used in programs must reflect that richness of experience. Multiculturalism need not be an occasional initiative attached to particular holidays. Best-selling authors MacMillan and Kirker offer a new paradigm for multicultural programs, one in which diversity is woven into any and every storytime, no matter what the topic. Arranged thematically around dozens of popular storytime themes, Multicultural Storytime Magic features

  • original and traditional resources from all over the world that will enrich storytimes for ages 2-5
  • concrete book recommendations, fingerplays, and other activities that can be integrated into existing storytimes
  • download links for flannelboard and stick puppet patterns, and illustrations of American Sign Language signs

With numerous activities and programming suggestions, this book will seamlessly integrate and enhance cultural awareness for children all year round.

Erica Littlefield of The Idaho Librarian says: “The content, organization, and resources included in Multicultural Storytime Magic make it a useful tool for youth services librarians in public libraries or school librarians who serve preschoolers and kindergarteners. It will help librarians incorporate multicultural touches into their regular storytimes or put together an entire storytime dedicated to a specific culture or country. Highly recommended.” Read the full review.

Order now from the Deaf Camps, Inc. Online Bookstore (autographed copies that support a great cause!) or at the ALA Store.

Free storytime resources from Kathy MacMillan and Christine Kirker.

Kindergarten Magic: Theme-Based Lessons for Building Literacy and Library Skills

by Kathy MacMillan and Christine Kirker. (ALA Editions, 2011)

This time-saving program planner for librarians and classroom teachers Kindergarten Magic coveralike includes everything you need to get started—reading lists, flannelboard patterns, poems, songs, easy crafts, even take-home activities to extend the learning process. The many creative ideas packed inside include:

  • Activities keyed to popular classroom themes, with one chapter for each week of the school year
  • Lessons that reinforce skills in key learning areas such as reading, writing, and math
  • American Sign Language and Spanish language activities that make diversity awareness a part of children’s learning
  • Teachable concepts that can be mixed and rearranged for maximum flexibility, complementing classroom schedules

Both veterans and novices will find plenty to help make kindergarten days richer, more rewarding, and more fun. Order your copy today and pick up tips for your school, preschool and library!

The Australian Library Journal says: “Kindergarten Magic provides a time-saving, idea-promoting framework for kindergarten library lessons with an emphasis on fun and interaction…This book would be an excellent addition to a school librarian’s collection to complement lesson planning and allow for quick ideas when faced with a spontaneous lesson. In addition, public library children’s librarians would find this resource useful to assist in creative ways to build library skills into storytime sessions.” Read the full review.

Order now from the Deaf Camps, Inc. Online Bookstore (autographed copies that support a great cause!) or at the ALA Store.

Free storytime resources from Kathy MacMillan and Christine Kirker.

Storytime Magic: 400 Fingerplays, Flannelboards, and Other Activities

by Kathy MacMillan and Christine Kirker. (ALA Editions, 2009)

Enriching and supplementing storytelling programs with fingerplays, flannelboards, and other props will be a cinch thanks to this generous sampling of art and craft ideas, songs, sign language and action rhymes.

Storytime Magic coverThis time-saving resource includes:

  • Thematic organization to make program planning easy
  • Recommended books for each theme
  • Easy-to-follow craft and flannelboard patterns
  • Quick Tips boxes that enhance the early literacy component

A unique addition to the programming shelf, this treasure trove of storytime tools is designed to help veteran librarians refresh and enliven ongoing programs, while providing novice storytime planners what they need to get started!

The Australian Library Journal says: ”Organised into chapters based on 16 themes, it is easy for the reader to find a story and associated activity to bring storytimes to life. Although written for librarians, the chosen themes follow topics common to many units of work in early education, and the stories and activities could easily be adapted by teachers to enhance either an integrated or trans-disciplinary unit of work.” Read the full review.

Teacher Librarian says: “There are lots of ideas here on common themes both in the real world and the world of imagination.”

School Library Journal says: “Both new and veteran storytellers will appreciate this book.” Read the full review.

Reviewer Sarah Deringer says: “If you’re a school librarian or a children’s librarian in need of story time activities, this is a go-to book. It includes the advertised fingerplays and flannelboard as well as rhymes, sign language, lists of books to read with each story subject, lots of different themes / subjects, crafts, and more! If you ever need an idea for a story time, I highly suggest you read this book!” Read the full review.

Order now from the Deaf Camps, Inc. Online Bookstore (autographed copies that support a great cause!) or at the ALA Store.

Free storytime resources from Kathy MacMillan and Christine Kirker.

A Box Full of Tales: Easy Ways to Share Library Resources Using Story Boxes

A Box Full of Tales cover imageby Kathy MacMillan. (ALA Editions, 2009)

Children’s programming made easy. Really easy.

What librarian doesn’t dream of offering more and better children’s programs with less effort? In Maryland’s Carroll County, story boxes have made this impossible dream come true for twenty years. Now Kathy MacMillan outlines the proven story box system for sharing an array of successful programs. Including step-by-step instructions from concept through implementation and supplemented by programming tips, A Box Full of Tales also offers detailed plans for 50 great story boxes,including suggested books, fingerplays, songs, props, crafts, and sign language.

Library Journal says: “The idea of story boxes to share program resources is brilliant—so much so that it’s a wonder that it is not a more prevalent practice…Even children’s librarians who don’t work in multibranch systems will find this guide extremely valuable for its theme-based program outlines, whether or not they choose to create story boxes.” Read the full review.

Order now from the Deaf Camps, Inc. Online Bookstore (autographed copies that support a great cause!) or at the ALA Store.

The Basics of Working with an Interpreter

What does an interpreter do?

An interpreter facilitates communication between people who use different languages. An interpreter must be skilled in both languages, as well as skilled in the process of interpreting.

What does an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter do?

An ASL interpreter facilitates communication between hearing people who don’t sign and deaf people who use American Sign Language.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires the provision of qualified interpreters for services provided by state and local governments, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and private entities related to educational and occupational certification.

How do I know if an interpreter is “qualified”?

The Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf provides testing for national certification. The National Association of the Deaf has also provided such testing in the past; currently the RID and NAD systems have been combined into the National Interpreter Certification (NIC), administered by RID. Some states have their own licensure or separate testing systems. Interpreters may also hold degrees from various interpreter training programs throughout the country. Though some states require state licensure or certification, in many other states no certifications are currently required to work as an interpreter.  When hiring an interpreter directly, certification is your assurance that the interpreter has been screened by a knowledgeable panel and deemed skilled.  When hiring an interpreter through an agency, be sure to ask about the agency’s screening process. 

When scheduling an interpreter, be prepared to provide this important information:

  • date and time
  • setting (job interview, staff meeting, awards ceremony, etc.)
  • the length of the assignment
  • the number of deaf and hearing people who will attend
  • the deaf person’s name (if known)
  • contact person’s name and phone number
  • directions and parking instructions
  • as much information as possible about the setting and content, including speaker outlines, agendas, programs, whether there will be a visual presentation such as a video, etc.

The more information the interpreter has ahead of time, the more effective the communication experience can be for everyone!

When working with an interpreter:

  • Allow time beforehand for the interpreter to preconference with the presenter or meeting leader.
  • Work with the interpreter in advance to decide how such issues as turn-taking and interrupting for clarification will be handled.
  • Remember that the interpreter will interpret everything she sees and hears. If you don’t want it interpreted, don’t say it!
  • Look at and speak to the deaf person, not the interpreter.
  • Remember that the interpreter will be using processing time and so will be at least a few words behind the speaker. Allow time for deaf participants to receive the message and respond to any questions asked.
  • If the participants will have visual information to study, make sure to allow time for the deaf participants to watch these things and then the interpreter sequentially.
  • Remember that the interpreter will need breaks – don’t expect a single interpreter to work for two hours straight.

Additional resources:

Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf: http://www.rid.org

The official website of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf includes information on how to become an interpreter, information for consumers on hiring and working with interpreters, and a variety of useful “Standard Practice Papers” on topic such as business practices for interpreters, coordinating interpreters for conferences, and working with interpreters in specialized settings such as legal and medical sites.

Northeast Technical Assistance Center: How to Hire a Qualified Interpreter http://www.netac.rit.edu/downloads/TPSHT_Hire_Qual_Interp.pdf

Gives specific advice on how to find a qualified interpreter.

Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center: http://clerccenter.gallaudet.edu/

The premiere source of information about deafness online, with fact sheets, teacher guides, information about assistive devices, and more.