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From:  Stefan Woehrmann
Date:  Mon Dec 6, 1999  10:58 pm
Subject:  Re: SW assisting literacy in spoken languages

Hi James, dear Valerie and all list members,

Iīm sorry not to participate too much at our discussions. The reasn is that
Iīm working so much - producing SW phrases, worksheets, signs -

yes - Valerie - SW does is a wonderful and inspiring support for my little
pupils. Lateron Iīll hopefully post more comments about my classroom
experiences -

just as a response to your comment:

one of my pupils - who failed to learn to read German for two years now is
so incredible proud - so intense - so motivated - to sit in front of the
computer in order to sign the SW phrases Iīm typing into the keyboard -

You realize what Iīm talking about ? She gets the feeling for the first time
in her life of beeing able to read! Itīs really incredible and some days I
canīt tell who of us is more happy about this!
While we are waorking - just the first steps like : Irina is painting a
house. Irina fetches her basket. Irina takes five bottles. Irina is painting
a bus. my little student is so eager to sign corectly. I īm nit sure what
she is focusing upon. I didnīt introduce all the segments of the signs to
her. She simply takes them as a unit. Additional to that she is a lefthanded
signer. poor girl - so she has to translate my righthanded signing acording
to her lefthand-signing. Amazingly she is doing great -
meanwhile two other pupils (7 years old) can sign that just with a glance -
Being occupied with maths or other things they have always a look from the
distance - they understand without any effort all the signs I have
introduced to them.

One thing that astonished me most was the following episode: Danny - a young
boy 7 years old - looks at the SW - phrases - written in signed German - and
didnīt sign - but started to read the with voice !!!!
I couldnīt believe that at the first moment. But it is no question to him
that these written signs are simply another way of spelling what could be
named with various tools.
He loves to use my dictionary which is slowly growing.

So at this moment I just want to give a short feedback.

I would bet that my seventh grade pupils have been the first pupils ever in
Germany who had the task to translate a SW text written in DGS into German
.. And believe me - they did a great job. For the first time of our efforts
to improve their literacy we were so happy to use SW as a tool that allows
us to learn systematically the vocabularies and grammar of spoken German. As
we can sign pretty good - we have to accept that now their will start a new
phase of learning . Doing this translations from SW - DGS to German - we can
focus on all the different aspects of grammar in the two systems.

Dear Valerie - this is so great - we canīt tell you!

Would love to hear more classroom experiences from other teachers.

Best whishes


>From: Valerie Sutton
>Reply-To: SignWriting List
>To: SignWriting List
>Subject: SW assisting literacy in spoken languages
>Date: Mon, 6 Dec 1999 08:35:34 -0800
>James Kegl wrote:
> >There will always be a strong and exceedingly persuasive argument that
> >children ought if possible learn to read and write the dominant hearing
> >language. Mastery of written English, for example, surely is a key to
> >achievement in American society, especially for Deaf people. (Similarly,
> >Nicaraguan Deaf are measured, some might say most unfairly, by their
> >of spanish.) To me, literacy in SW solely for the purpose of reading and
> >writing a sign language is a most laudable end in itself, and will become
> >even more desirable as literature in SW develops. But, I think SW can
> >be an extremely valuable tool as a bridge from literacy in ASL, for
> >to mastery of reading in English.
>December 6, 1999
>Thanks James, for this insightful message! I personally believe that
>SignWriting assists deaf children in learning to read and write a spoken
>language, judging by experiences in the classroom. Of course that is not a
>scientific study, but I suspect it is true. When a person is given a way to
>read and write their native language, reading and writing a second language
>becomes easier....
>And apparently deaf kids get so inspired with SignWriting that they write
>words too, without being asked...they simply try to write all kinds of
>communication as soon as they become if nothing more, SW
>serves as an inspiration for them to start reading and writing in
>general...Stefan in Germany, who is teaching Deaf kids, told us that the
>kids automatically wrote German words near the signs, without being
>Val ;-)

  Replies Author Date
2431 Re: SW assisting literacy in spoken languages Valerie Sutton Tue  12/7/1999

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