A New Way of Experiencing American Sign Language and English
Some reflections after studying The Princess and the Pea: We began the school year using fingerspelling to help students with b/d, th/f and v/b alternations to practice spelling words and their vocabulary words. Also, I feel the success of the project depended on ASL being seen as a complete language that has rules, and a history and native speakers. Some students were reluctant because signing brought attention to them, but they really began to enjoy how it opened up the world of the book. For example during one exercise the students were asked to describe the changes in setting during the story. Most students originally wrote that the princess came to the castle, but did not mention the weather. On the next attempt, they mentioned that it was raining. We watched Pinky sign that section again and they started laughing. We discussed why they were laughing about her description, and how un-funny theirs were. Their descriptions of the storm and the soaked princess were greatly improved after reviewing the video again. One day a student who was a reluctant reader read the next story in an unusual voice. He read with so many facial expressions, intonation, and faster than ever before. I said, “That’s a different voice.” He said, “I’m reading in Pinky’s voice.” “What voice would that be? The mouse with the big head from Pinky and the Brain?” I asked. (We both love cartoons.) “No, the other Pinky. The Princess and the Pea  Pinky. Sign Language Pinky. I’m reading like her face reads.” Of course, he has never heard Pinky’s voice, but watching her sign so much enabled him to create a voice in his head and read with phrasing that he had never used before. Unfortunately, his schedule was changed and I don’t work with him anymore, but for one brief and shinning moment, I saw him enjoying reading.
                ASL Tales
© ASL Tales:2015
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