A bilingual app with sign language brings more stories to deaf children
Learning and reading from storybooks can play a formative role during childhood. Melissa Malzkuhn, founder and creative director of the Motion Ligh Lab in the Science of Learning Center on Visual Language and Visual Learning (VL2) at Gallaudet University, created the VL2 Storybook Apps to make books available to children in both English and American Sign Language. Each app has a “read” mode for English, “watch” mode for ASL, and “learn” mode for a video tutorial of a specific sign along with a finger-spelling of it.
There’s also a companion app, VL2 Storybook Creator, which allows children to create their own bilingual stories.
“Sign language needs to be documented in a way that English storybooks have been for decades,” Malzkuhn said, “with deaf narrators, so that young children can receive language and culture from deaf adults, find their role models and develop their identity.”
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