SignWriting List Archive 1
October 1997 - May 1998

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April 30, 1998

SUBJECT: Feedback Literacy Group 3

Sutton's Note: Before I post the feedback from the Brazilian Literacy Project (see below), I want to share with you something rather exciting. When I received Ronice's web report (snail mail), I was pleased to see that Ronice had written several of her answers in her native language, Brazilian Sign Language. In other words, the questionnaire asked a question, and Ronice wrote the answer first in SignWriting, by hand. Then, after the SignWriting, she wrote an English translation (her third language).

So...even though the report below is written in English, it was not originally! Ronice will be visiting me for about a week at the end of May to work with me on translating the Literacy Project's materials into Brazilian Sign Language. At that time, perhaps one of us can type her Brazilian Sign Language by computer and then I can post her bilingual response on her web page :-)

I also feel honored that Ronice has worked extra jobs to raise the money to fly to San Diego to work with me. She and I will do all we can to make the Literacy Project a success in the Brazilian School System.

Here is the Brazilian Literacy Project's feedback:

SW Literacy Group #3:
Brazilian Literacy Project
Contact Teacher: Ronice Quadros

To: "SignWriting"
Subject: Re: Web Report #1
Date: April 4, 1998

1. Why do you want to learn SignWriting?
I have a special interest in SignWriting because I am a native signer and I am a linguist studying Brazilian Sign Language. I believe that SignWriting can be a "door" for the spontaneous and natural literacy process for any signer.

I experienced such an amazing feeling when I "discovered" that there is now something called "SignWriting" that makes it possible for me to write my native language. This was a true revelation for me, and now I dream of the day when this system will be used to teach Deaf people to read and write.

I want to become skilled in SignWriting because I believe that it is the written form for signed languages. It will be a very important instrument to teach Deaf children literacy. I have experienced reading and writing signs now myself, and I know how it can truly express Sign Language. I want to give support to teachers who are interested in using SignWriting, and I want to assist them in learning how to teach Deaf children to read and write too.

2. What have been some of your past frustrations when teaching?
First, we need to improve our signing skills. We need to know how Sign Language stories are imagined and expressed, and then, we need to know how to write those stories, creating literature. Second, Deaf children need to learn how to write literature in their signed language. The children do not know how to do this yet. Third, Deaf people have always had problems learning to read and write spoken language. The children have been required to use words from spoken language, and this is difficult. Fourth, until now, children could not correct their signed language, because they had no way to write it.

3. Are you hoping that SignWriting might help? If so, in what way?
I think that SignWriting can help Deaf people. SignWriting is related to Sign Language. Therefore, Deaf people can write their language. When Deaf people discover Sign Language Literature, they will want to write it too. Then, SignWriting will develop. I can imagine in the future, Deaf people writing letters to other Deaf friends directly in Sign Language. Then, we can teach children to write a spoken language as a second language. Am I dreaming?

4. How would you like to use your web page on the SignWritingSite?
Most schools in Brazil do not have computers yet. Some of them have computers, but they are old, and they are not necessarily connected to the internet. I hope that someday the schools could at least have one computer that they could use for the Literacy Project. This is hard, but it is not impossible. We can try.

I think that it will be interesting to have a home page. We could connect different deaf schools so that they could discuss education issues. Also, it would be fantastic if deaf children could write using SignWriting, communicating with other deaf children in other schools. This could be a way to establish SignWriting as something truly used in the children's daily lives.

5. Please write any other information about your group.
I think that it is important to share with you how we are using SignWriting in Brazil. The work with SignWriting began in 1996 with Dr. Antonio Carlos Rocha da Costa. We presented a workshop in March, 1997, on SignWriting, which was also broadcast on the internet. This workshop was open to the Deaf Community. During this workshop, Dr. Rocha, together with Marcia de Borba Campos and Marianne Stumpf, showed how SignWriting could be used to write Brazilian Sign Language (called LIBRAS). People began to be curious about SignWriting.

Because of that workshop, I, Ronice Muller de Quadros, became interested in SignWriting. I began to learn to write the system by hand. After that, I began to learn to type SignWriting by computer. I am still learning it.

In Brazil, Marianne Stumpf is translating the "Lessons In SignWriting Textbook" into Brazilian Sign Language and Portuguese. She has also translated two children's stories: Goldilocks & The Three Bears, and "Uma Menina Chamada Kauana" into SignWriting.

Note: I am so happy to have your support to begin this project in Brazil. I hope to receive financial support from Brazil to help with this project. There are some Brazilian schools that might be interested in participating in this project, once we find funding, and once we have prepared the materials in Brazilian Sign Language (LIBRAS) and Portuguese. I have heard from Rio de Janeiro that there is a school there that might be interested. Also, I know there are some schools from sourthern and northern Brazil, which I have worked with before.

All good wishes,

Ronice Muller de Quadros



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Looking forward to hearing from you!

Valerie Sutton


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