Recommended Viewing: The Sign Language Storytelling Series from Weston Woods

These excellent videos are perfect for both Deaf and hearing families!  Native signers Missy Keast and Manny Hernandez appear in front of the pictures and English text, telling the story on each page in American Sign Language.  Weston Woods, long known for its high-quality visual adaptations of picture books, applies its signature style to these DVDs, making them fully accessible for both Deaf audiences and hearing non-signers.  Each DVD also features:

  • optional English text on screen and English voiceover
  • a vocabulary section showing featured signs in isolation, arranged alphabetically by English translation
  • a 10-question quiz that assesses comprehension and memory
  • an optional read-along feature that highlights each word as it is spoken

Titles available in this series:

es Very Young Vol 1 DVDBig Al by Andrew Clements, illustrated by Yoshi: Big Al is large and scary-looking , so the little fish are afraid of him.Then he gets to prove what a good friend he can be!

 

 

 

s Very Young Vol 1 DVDBlue Burt and Wiggles by Derek Anderson: An unusual friendship develops between a bird and a worm, showing how common concerns lead to unusual friendships.

 

 

 

9780977097470_lgA Creature Was Stirring by Carter Goodrich: A little boy says that, despite what everyone thinks, he was the only creature stirring in the house that Christmas Eve.

 

 

 

ies Very Young Vol 1 DVDFive Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow: As soon as they say goodnight to Mama, five little monkeys start to jump on their bed. But trouble lies ahead.

 

 

 

s Very Young Vol 1 DVDGladys Goes Out to Lunch by Derek Anderson: One day Gladys smells something delicious and leaves the zoo to find out what it is…and the adventure begins.

 

 

 

ies Very Young Vol 1 DVDLittle Quack by Lauren Thompson: Splish! Splash! Splosh! Can Little Quack find the courage to join his brothers and sisters in the pond?

 

 

 

ies Very Young Vol 1 DVDA Pocket for Corduroy by Don Freeman: Corduroy, a lovable stuffed bear, gets lost. After an all-night adventure he is rescued by his owner.

 

 

 

ies Very Young Vol 1 DVDThere’s Something in My Attic by Mercer Mayer: A brave little girl captures a ngihtmare to show her parents that there really is something in the attic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Sale Now: More Storytime Magic

MacMillan_cover_1p.inddMore Storytime Magic

by Kathy MacMillan and Christine Kirker

ALA Editions, December 29, 2015.  $52.00

Order now!

“MacMillan and Kirker continue their successful formula for helping librarians and others who plan stories and activities for children aged two and up…a welcome addition for public and school library professional collections.” – American Reference Books Annual

“Another excellent resource from this author pair, this title presents songs, stories, and activities arranged by themes, such as fairy tales, animals, friends, and food. The stories and songs include originals and adaptations alike, and many of the tunes are sung to well-known traditional songs…For those who wish to specify the elements of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) demonstrated in storytime, the coding found with each activity is helpful…With fun activities and timely information on the CCSS, this is an ideal choice for administrators, librarians, and parents eager to promote current literacy standards.” – School Library Journal

“The authors do a very good job of providing activities that can be used for different age groups as well as different time allotments and settings.” – School Library Connection

“…a worthwhile purchase for any youth department where there is a focus on storytime.” – Booklist

MacMillian and Kirker’s knack for creating storytimes that engage and delight young ones have made their previous books bestsellers. Now they’re back with an all new assortment of original fingerplays, transitional rhymes, movement songs, flannelboards, sign language rhymes and other activities to spice up storytimes for ages two and up. This ready-to-go sourcebook for children’s librarians, early literacy specialists, and other adults who work with young children offers everything needed to plan and host quality storytimes, including

  • more than a dozen thematic groupings of activities, featuring such fun topics such as “All About Me,” “Bugs and Insects,” “Fairy Tales and Castles,” and “People in my Neighborhood”;
  • recommended storytime books for each theme, along with material lists, patterns for flannelboards and stick puppets, and illustrations of American Sign Language signs; and
  • coding for each entry indicating which Common Core State Standards for Kindergarten skills it supports.

Using the guidance and activities contained in this book, storytimes will be more magical than ever!

Wordless Picture Books – Something for Everyone!

I am so pleased to share with you this article by my good friend, early childhood educator Louise Rollins of Maryland/DC Hands & Voices.  Though this article specifically addresses techniques for using wordless picture books with deaf and hard of hearing children, these ideas will benefit hearing children as well.  So if you thought wordless picture books couldn’t make for a satisfying storytime – think again!  This article originally appeared in the Hands & Voices Communicator, Summer 2015, Volume XVIV, Issue 4 and is posted here with permission.

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When you search for books for your child, you can identify high-quality children’s books in part because they convey much of the story through the pictures. This is especially important for children who are learning language, as our deaf or hard of hearing children are, since they may not always understand the story through language alone. Wordless picture books are a category of books with very little or no text, where the story is conveyed entirely through the pictures. The same skills that children practice while reading books with text can apply: retelling, understanding story structure, taking multiple perspectives, and making predictions, inferences, and personal connections. Additionally, wordless picture books present unique benefits for deaf or hard of hearing children using any communication modality.

Wordless picture books are excellent for helping your child understand the sequence of events in the story. During book sharing with a traditional book, a child sees part of the story in the picture and perhaps understands part of the story through the text that is read to her, then has to piece together a narrative from those two fractured elements, filling in the blanks on her own as she is able. Using a wordless picture book, your child can understand the events through the picture first, then learn from you the language that describes what she sees. This process helps develop your child’s story comprehension and build her vocabulary.

IMG_2946Because the pictures may be open to some interpretation, wordless picture books create an interactive reading experience where you and your child can discuss what you think is happening in the story. You can encourage your child to take on the role of narrator; even if your child cannot read print yet he can “read” these books independently or to you. Storytelling opportunities help your child practice organizing his thoughts, including sufficient information for his audience, and selecting relevant details. In other words, while practicing reading, your child is also practicing important writing skills, without even picking up a pencil.

When you read wordless picture books, you can modify your storytelling to use single IMG_2990words or shorter phrases. You might want to do this if your child does not yet understand longer strings of connected language, or is still developing his attention span. If you are learning to sign, you do not have to feel bound by the print and feel pressure if you don’t know every sign in the text. If you are learning to cue, you do not have to worry about cueing long passages at one time. Instead, you can focus on telling the story and enjoying book sharing with your child.

What about older children?

Wordless picture books are not limited to simple stories aimed at younger children. You can find intricate and sophisticated stories appropriate for older children as well. The flexible nature of these books fosters creativity and reduces the pressure for your child to produce the “right” answer. If you have a reluctant reader who feels anxiety when presented with print, she may be more comfortable with a wordless picture book. Successfully interacting with a book can empower your child to see herself as a reader and engender a love of reading.

el deafoThe genre of graphic novels has been rapidly expanding over recent years, creating more age-appropriate opportunities for older children and teens to enjoy wordless picture books. You will find graphic novels that range from little or no text to very print-heavy, but all are sure to convey the story clearly through pictures. An excellent graphic novel to check out is El Deafo by Cece Bell. Although it is text-heavy, it features a deaf main character and positive themes for deaf and hard of hearing readers, and has been well received by fans and critics.

Favorite wordless picture books

By Lita Judge:

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By Suzy Lee:

mirror shadow wave zoo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By David Wiesner:

flotsamtuessector mr free

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had such a hard time paring down the list of my favorite wordless picture book titles or authors! For many more titles, click here and look for “wordless” in the book descriptions.

 

A final thought

Wordless picture books can provide you and your child with less pressure and more freedom to enjoy story time together. Please remember that you can try every single one of these suggestions with traditional books as well. Ignore the text, read the story in a way that matches your or your child’s language skills, make up your own story, let your child take a turn – whatever you do, make reading fun!

 

Louise Rollins has worked with deaf and hard of hearing children and their families in early intervention, school, and recreational settings in Maryland for thirteen years. She loves high-quality children’s literature and book-sharing with families.

Hands & Voices is a non-profit, parent-driven organization dedicated to supporting families of children who are deaf or hard of hearing.