forum SignWriting List Forum
  Message 889  |  Previous | Next  [ Up Thread ] Message Index
From:  Valerie Sutton
Date:  Sat Jan 16, 1999  2:10 am
Subject:  1998 Year-End Report

January 15, 1999

Dear SW List Members:
This Year-End Report is a summary of our nonprofit organization's
accomplishments in 1998. It does not mention all of the wonderful projects
using SignWriting around the world :-)

The Center For Sutton Movement Writing is a nonprofit educational
organization founded in Southern California in 1974. The Center sponsors
the Deaf Action Committee (the DAC). We do not have an office, but instead
work from our computers in our homes. We hold occasional meetings to talk,
edit documents, and plan. We are celebrating our 25th anniversary in 1999!
You can read more about the Center on the web:

Center For Sutton Movement Writing


Deaf Action Committee For SignWriting

1. SignWriting Annual Membership Meeting, La Jolla, February 8, 1998
DAC members Darline Clark and Dave Gunsauls presented children's stories
written in ASL to 20 people, with Angela Jones interpreting. Valerie then
discussed research projects in Denmark and Nicaragua, introduced the newly
established SignWriting Literacy Project, and reported on software
development. Board members voted on new officers. It was a great meeting!!

For a more detailed account of the Annual
Membership Meeting, visit this web page:

2. SignWriting Literacy Project Established January 16, 1998
The Project was first announced on the internet. There was a flurry of
requests for information. Information packets were sent to schools in
February. During the spring and summer, donations of SignWriting videos and
textbooks were sent to the first five participating groups, which included:
the Robarts School for the Deaf in Ontario, Canada; the Texas School for
the Deaf in Austin, Texas; the Caldwell Elementary School in Wichita,
Kansas; a private tutor with seven native signing students, in Ontario,
Canada; and a homeschool with three small children in Florida. The teachers
studied the materials over the summer, and then in September each group
received three SignWriting books for each student. The teachers were asked
to test the materials and to fill out forms describing their opinions. Only
two of the five groups completed their paperwork by year's end. The
feedback that was received was quite positive. By the end of 1998, there
was another flurry of requests for information. New schools are being
signed up for the 1999 Spring Semester, starting March 1st, 1999.

For more details on the SignWriting
Literacy Project, visit this web page:

3. The SignWriting Email List Becomes "The SignWriting List", May 9, 1998
The SignWriting Email List grew from 50 members to 500 in 1997. Every week
messages were posted to the Email List discussing the issues surrounding
SignWriting, posted manually by Valerie Sutton. Then in May, 1998, Paul
Cowley, an interpreter and teacher of the deaf in Ontario, Canada, offered
to donate his time and services to establish "The SignWriting List" with
LISTSERVE software. This donation was made possible by Humber College in
Ontario, Canada, which donates the computer space for the List. Paul Cowley
is the first owner, and Valerie Sutton, the second owner. Because of Paul
Cowley's generosity, members of the SignWriting List can now post messages
to each other, without waiting for Valerie to do it!! And the List has all
the benefits of LISTSERVE, making it possible for members to subscribe on
their own. The donation of the SignWriting List in 1998 was a milestone for
SignWriting. List members have posted outstanding information, contributing
to the spread and further development of the system. All postings are

SignWriting List Archives on the Web

4. Visitors From Norway, Nicaragua, Brazil, Japan, & New Mexico
Ingvild Roald, who has used SignWriting in Norway since the mid-1980's,
came to stay with Valerie in April. At the same time, Janice
Gangel-Vasquez, who wrote the thesis "Literacy in Nicaraguan Sign
Language", which shows that deaf children can "achieve literacy" in a
signed language, drove from Los Angeles to visit. A special DAC meeting was
held in Ingvild's and Janice's honor. Ronice Muller de Quadros, from Porto
Alegre, Brazil, who is using SignWriting in her linguistic thesis, came in
early June. Ronice and other members of the DAC were videotaped discussing
their feelings on SignWriting. Mark Penner, an American living in Japan,
who is translating the Bible into Japanese Sign Language and is using
SignWriting to assist in this task, visited in late July. Cecilia Flood,
who will be testing SignWriting through the SignWriting Literacy Project in
the Albuquerque, New Mexico School System in 1999, as a part of her
doctoral thesis at the University of New Mexico, came at the end of
December to study SignWriting with Valerie Sutton and Darline Clark

5. Conference in San Diego, April 13-14
SignWriting was presented at "The Impact of Deafness on Cognition"
Conference sponsored by AERA, The American Education Research Association.
Not only did the DAC present SignWriting, but the system was also a part of
another demonstration, by Janice Gangel Vasquez, who wrote a thesis for her
masters degree in linguistics. The abstract and paper are on the web:

Abstract: Research on Sign Language Literacy

Thesis: Literacy In Nicaraguan Sign Language

6. New Children's Stories Video & Six New SignWriting Books
In June, 1998, Darline Clark, Dave Gunsauls and Kevin Clark "re-told"
different children's stories in American Sign Language in front of a video
camera. Valerie then edited the video, creating the SignWriting Children's
Stories Video, including four classics told by Darline: Goldilocks,
Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Snow White. In August, 1998, Valerie
prepared six documents based on the videos. The schools needed the
materials for the upcoming Fall semester of the SignWriting Literacy
Project. Only three of the six were distributed in the Fall. Those three
are the first on the list below, which are the 6 books prepared in August,

SW Level 1: Goldilocks Workbook & Coloring Book
SW Level 2: Goldilocks Basic Storybook
SW Level 2: Sutton's ASL Picture Dictionary
SW Level 3: Learn to Read ASL, Goldilocks
SW Level 3: Goldilocks Intermediate Storybook
SW Level 4: Goldilocks Advanced Storybook

Portions of two books are on the web:

SW Level 2: Goldilocks Basic Storybook

American Sign Language Picture Dictionary

7. History of SignWriting Video & Booklet Completed
The interpreter's voices were placed on the video in June, 1998, and the
accompanying booklet, which transcribes the entire video with colorful
diagrams, was completed in October, 1998.

History of SignWriting Video

8. SignWriter 5.0 Written in Java
1998 was a complicated year in regards to software development. DTAI is a
software firm in San Diego which specializes in Java applications.
Programmers from DTAI worked on SignWriter 5.0 until September, 1998, when
DTAI no longer had time to finish the project. But, they were kind enough
to arrange for a new programmer, Larry Peranich, who began working on
SignWriter 5.0 in November, 1998. Larry works full time elsewhere, and is
only able to work a few hours a week on SignWriter, but he is an excellent
programmer and we are grateful to have him!!

9. The SignWritingSite
The SignWriting Web Site is a reference library for written Sign Language
Literature and free SignWriting Lessons Online. It is designed and managed
by webmaster Valerie Sutton. There are over 250 pages. Daily hits range
from 10,000 to 15,000. Some important postings in 1998 were:

January 5, 1998 - How SignWriting Has Changed: The Evolution of Writing Styles
February 02, 1998 - Cinderella, Part Two, written in ASL by Darline Clark
February 25, 1998 - Learn to Read ASL in SignWriting: Lesson One
March 19, 1998 - SignWriter Newsletter, Spring, 1998, by Dave Gunsauls
May 06, 1998 - Complete Thesis: Literacy In Nicaraguan Sign Language
May 18, 1998 - SignWriting Teacher's Forum, Home of the SW Literacy Project
June 12, 1998 - Typing Fingerspelling in 14 Countries
July 01, 1998 - "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie" In Nicaraguan Sign Language
October 06, 1998 - Interview with Abdul Aziz Al-Obaid, from Saudi Arabia
October 12, 1998 - "Uma Menina Chamada Kauana" Brazilian Children's Story
October 19, 1998 - Learn to Write SignWriting By Hand, Lessons 1 & 2
November 02, 1998 - Writing ASL Grammar, Lesson Two: Spatial Comparisons
November 02, 1998 - The Importance of Writing Sign Language Down In Columns
November 09, 1998 - Literacy Project Teacher Reports Posted, Akehurst & Lewis
November 17, 1998 - Lessons In SignWriting: Lesson 4: Writing Finger Movements
November 30, 1998 - Three Deaf Opinons: Kevin Clark, Eva & Hans Abildgaard
December 14, 1998 - Lessons In SignWriting: Lesson 5: Straight Movement Arrows

10. With Thanks To Our 1998 Sponsors...
Without them none of the above could have been possible! Many thanks to the
R.C. Baker Foundation, the Briggs Foundation, the Edwards Foundation, the
Legler Benbough Foundation, Epson America Inc., Viking Office Products, Dr.
Seuss Enterprises, the Trizec-Hahn Foundation, and all of the individuals
and Board members who generously contributed to our success in 1998!

Supporters of the
Fall, 1998 Semester of
the SignWriting Literacy Project

All in all, 1998 was a pretty terrific year!!

Valerie :-)

Valerie Sutton at the DAC
Deaf Action Committee for SW


Center For Sutton Movement Writing
an educational nonprofit organization
Box 517, La Jolla, CA, 92038-0517, USA

  Message 889  |  Previous | Next  [ Up Thread ] Message Index