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to Read and Sign|
Donna Jo Napoli
Dear Parents and Teachers,
The stories in this book are written for beginning readers. They are fun to read in both English and American Sign Language (ASL). The signs are made by a right-handed signer, so if you are left-handed, just reverse the movements you see on the page.
Each of the five stories takes place in a different month of the year, September through January, which helps children build on real-life experiences. The stories increase in complexity as the child’s vocabulary and reading skills increase during the school year. The first story, for example, is told entirely in single-word sentences, while the last story contains several complete sentences. A new reader can, therefore, focus on the act of reading and on building recognition skills before having to learn how written English is different from ASL or any other language. In this way, the stories are organized to welcome all new readers of English, regardless of their native language.
In the first three stories, the ASL signs appear directly under the corresponding English words. However, English and ASL have quite different sentence structures. As a result, there is not a word-for-sign match between ASL and English. In the fourth and fifth stories, which include whole sentences, the ASL signs are sometimes placed on a different part of the page from the English sentences so readers do not become confused.
Please note that the sign drawings are not a writing system. In sign languages the hands, arms, head, face, and torso work hard (they lean, shake, take on a certain form, etc.), so no simple writing system would be adequate to represent them.
We hope you and your children enjoy these stories. Happy reading!
Donna Jo Napoli and Doreen DeLuca