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From:  Stefan Woehrmann
Date:  Fri Jun 2, 2000  3:48 pm
Subject:  Re: Chami

Lindsey's mama-Linda
wrote :
> We believe in total communication anywhere's from ASL to miming. What ever
> it takes, we want to help her understand language.
> Our other continous factor is teaching her how to read. WE would love to
> hear how and what has worked good for others.

Hello Linda

thank you so much for your message. Itīs been inspiring to read all the
comments and answers. You know that Iīm teaching deaf children at first
grade and seventh grade. Thanks to Valerie I was able to start with SW with
the first grade students when they started their school -life in September
You wouldnīt believe what has happened in the meantime!!! So all I can
recommend in order to enrich the learning experiences of your wonderfull
daughter is to get started with SW. The little children learn to read the
SW-symbols without any effort.
Just start with a very few cards - like a memory set. You might ask your
daughter to sign the meaning of the picture and then you can show her the
SW - card. Her task will be to put the cards to pairs - well you know.

We started with the numbers from 1 -10. Look at your five fingers hand and
draw the SW symbol - you can develop in front of your daughter the system of
fist, flathand, fingers -- it is sooo easy and for children soo much fun to
realize that reading can be so easy.

Our next step - almost at the same time- was to present the different
SW-symbols for our name-signs ! Valerie was so kind to check my first
"writings" ...

The little children donīt care about the details ! They donīt analyze the
various elements of the sign. In fact - up to now - I donīt know what kind
of strategy they develop in order to memorize or to identify the various
different signs. But that is no problem.

Valerie was absolutely right - when I started I was so afraid to confuse my
little students with misspelled SW - cards . Looking back to my first
SW-texts - I feel a little ashamed. Browsing through my dictionary today I
can find many mistakes -- but - yes -- I can find them !! :-)
And my pupils - well they accept these little changes in architecture
without too much trouble.

The students of seventh grade read in a different manner. They try to
identify every single element and keep the spelling like photos in their
minds. ( Just by the way: We have had a very interesting episode last
Tuesday- I offered the spelling for rooster and asked for the translation .
One of my students didnīt agree and insisted that I spelled this word in a
different way before. I wasnīt sure and couldnīt remember. Then he
remembered the story . I opened the file - we wrote this story in signed
German few weeks ago !!! - and found the sign for rooster at this place -
my young friend was right! The difference was that I used that time the top
down view - but now the front - view ! Isnīt this amazing ? )

Iīm sorry - Is this the kind of feed-back you are looking for ? Well - if
you would be able to watch my little friends you would understand my
enthusiasm about SW. Itīs such a powerfull tool in deaf education. Itīs so
wonderful to see how the little students look at the SW-texts while they are
writing the German translation into their exercise-books. They look at the
SW -symbol and translate it into German . They look at a German word - hmm
what does it mean ?? No problem - go to the computer -press alt and D at the
same time - type in the letters - press return - press pagedown - and .....
watch the smile !! For the first time that I can think of they are able to
find the meaning of a word by using their own language ! This way they have
to learn the spelling of the German words as well. They have to memorize the
spelling . The computer is a little distance away - ;-) . In case they are
unable to find the word , they have to call (!!!) me ! "Hello Mr Woehrmann.
Please come !) They feel so happy to be able to do that ! Without contact
from eye to eye their voice and articulation is a help - !! They get into
discussions about the spelling of special signs - they realize that they can
choose between several versions. They feel proud to be able to use the
computer programm SignWriter 4.3 -
Right now two of my first grade students are able to start the computer, to
find SW from C:\ to open their own file, to jump to the end to add the new
date and to copy the signs from the dictionary.
Itīs interesting to see that they prefer to type complete signed German
sentences !!
Introducing new SW - words (what is the term for this - Valerie - ??)
"new written signs " it is so easy. I explain the new card and thatīs it.
Do you understand what I mean ? The little students learn the meaning of new
spellings soooooo quickly. It is a mystery to me ! Compared to this it is
really hard work - time-consuming - to learn the spelling and articulation
of new German words.

Reading is fun. One of my students has really a hard time to learn to read
German. She has had almost no opportunity to develop a fundamental
communication system - (consequence of Oralism and additional learning
problems ) - Ten years old she experiences for the first time the happyness
of reading: Yes - take the blue car into the hall . Give the pencil to
Irina. Put seven eggs into the red bucket. -- no problem to her ! Her big
smile - you have to see what Iīm talking about. -

Well it sounds that your daughter is lucky to be supported by you!

It sounds great - the way you try to look for additional supporting tools.
SW can be one of them ! SW is simply great !!! ;-)

Have a great day and say hello to your daughter

Stefan ;-)

  Replies Author Date
3619 Re: Chami Valerie Sutton Mon  6/19/2000

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