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From:  Valerie Sutton
Date:  Sat Feb 26, 2000  12:53 am
Subject:  Dawn's Important Message .....

SignWriting List
February 25, 2000

My dear friends...
Sometimes we receive such terrific messages, it is hard to know which
ones to read first! I have been trying to answer the messages in
order, as they are received, but it doesn't always work that way ;-)))

I now wish I had answered Dawn McReynolds sooner, because in the
middle of a bunch of technical messages, Dawn wrote the most
stirring, moving message...I cannot thank you, Dawn, enough for
sharing this with us. Your complete message means a great deal to me,
and I am looking forward to posting in on your web page, along with
the lovely photo of your daughter Nicole.

The reason I feel it is important is this:

Dawn is saying that her daughter's reading skills in English have
improved "two grades" because of SignWriting (or at least partly
because of SignWriting). This means a lot, because even though some
of us have "guessed" that might happen, we never had enough people
try we didn't know if that would be true or not.

I know that others will say that it is not "scientific data" and of
course it is not...but certainly this anectodal evidence is still
valuable, and should encourage others to do research on this issue.

Can SignWriting help raise the literacy levels of born-deaf people,
in a spoken language?

Excerpts of Dawn's message are pasted below:


Message 2987
SignWriting List Archives

On 2/23/00, Dawn McReynolds wrote:
>My name is Dawn McReynolds, I have a beautiful 13 year old daughter
>named Nicole. Nicole is Deaf and was attending public school here
>in Michigan. I felt that Nicole was slipping through the cracks of
>the public school system.
>When I started to try to teach her. I was stuck, there were parts of
>the English Language she just couldn't understand. She was in sixth
>grade and really didn't know what those words she was reading meant.
>I didn't know what to do.

>I was stunned to realize after eight years in school; she had no
>working knowledge of what words really meant. I introduced to her
>several pictures of things without the words present. She would
>know what it was.

>I was also devastated, HOW COULD I HAVE NOT KNOWN THIS? As I went
>on with discovering where Nicole really was in school and how much
>help she really needed I felt overwhelmed and began to question my
>ability to teach her.

>One day we sat down and watched television, here in Michigan we have
>a station that focuses on the Deaf. At a certain time during the
>day you can see the news told by Deaf and so on. While we were
>watching this station, on came SignWriting.

>It was the answer indeed. When I pulled Nicole from the 6th grade,
>she was functioning well below 3rd grade level. I was told by
>several educators that was expected and not to worry. Over a year
>later she has moved up Two grade levels. I attribute that growth of
>learning mostly from SignWriting!!

>I am so proud of Nicole and the work she has done in the last year.
>I wouldn't change a thing about the struggles we encountered along
>the way to get here.
>SignWriting for Nicole and I became; sort of a lifeline, it gave me
>a opportunity to bridge a gap that was causing knowledge to be lost.
>Sign Writing became the missing link between my Written Language and
>Nicole's Signed Language. We are currently trying to get through
>the first set of materials so we can move on. For us, this is
>somewhat a slow process; because I must know Nicole is retaining the
>information she is learning; before I move on.

>She is... Nicole is almost ready for the next packet. Hope you all
>check out some of our recorded experiences on our site. They will
>be sent to Val sometime in late March.

>This is my personal story;
>Nicole's experience is not typical of public schools;
> Dawn McReynolds

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