Academic journal article Sign Language Studies

Supplementing an Educational Video Series with Video-Related Classroom Activities and Materials

Academic journal article Sign Language Studies

Supplementing an Educational Video Series with Video-Related Classroom Activities and Materials

Article excerpt

The role of language, particularly in communication with others and in learning to read and write, is critical for children's success in school and in life. Researchers, educators, and others have long been interested in how and when to introduce language and literacy, and some have been especially concerned with doing so with deaf children. When children are learning a language and becoming literate, they must have a fluent language model. That model can take many forms, including parents and other family members, peers, educators, and schooling.

The statistics on deaf children's achievement in later schooling raise significant concerns. For example, the reading skills of deaf children with hearing parents lag behind those of their Deaf peers with Deaf parents (Lane, Hoffmeister, and Bahan 1996). This stems from the fact that, from birth, many deaf children are not provided with a fully accessible language (e.g., a visual language such as American Sign Language [ASL]; Mayberry 2007, 2010).Thus, often by the time these deaf children reach preschool, their literacy skills are already delayed. This places a greater responsibility on educators to provide fluent language models in the classroom, and both researchers and educators have focused on best practices for promoting language and literacy development with this population. Yet, questions remain, and perspectives on effective ways to foster such growth differ.

Recently, greater attention has been directed to multimedia and other technologies as resources for learning. Studies have demonstrated the potential of both new and old technologies to promote learning and development in language and literacy in particular.These technologies offer many opportunities to provide fluent language models by incorporating visual language and visual learning strategies, which, in turn, can become another source for facilitating deaf children's literacy and language skills. A small body of work has indicated that educational media in ASL are indeed one effective means of teaching language and literacy skills (Golos and Moses 2013a). In addition, findings suggest that engagement and learning in this area increase with teacher mediation (Golos and Moses 2011).Yet, the field still has much to learn about the role the teacher plays when utilizing educational media to foster early literacy and language skills.

The current study extends previous research in several ways. First, it focuses on deaf children's learning when teachers are provided with materials and activities to supplement an educational media series. It also examines participants' literacy-related behaviors exhibited during the activities, and whether their knowledge of targeted skills increased after they participated in the activities. In addition, it discusses teacher feedback on the usability and perceived effectiveness of the activities and the materials.

Theoretical Frameworks for Literacy Development

Curricular resources that target effective language and literacy development in deaf children must be informed by research. For example, they must consider the range of skills that develop prior to conventional reading and writing (i.e., emergent literacy skills), including growth in vocabulary, comprehension, and print awareness.These resources must also account for the multiple ways in which deaf children can access visual language and a variety of strategies, including ways to make connections between languages (i.e., ASL and English print) and by using multimedia (i.e., multiliteracies).

Emergent Literacy

In the past several decades, more and more researchers and educators of deaf people have come to support the theoretical perspective of emergent literacy, which focuses on the literacy-related knowledge and skills that children develop from birth onward (e.g., Musselman 2000; Sulzby and Teale 1991; Whitehurst and Lonigan 2001). Deaf children can learn much, for example, from seeing a book read aloud in ASL and from having adults point to and discuss print and images. …

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