Teach Deaf learners to read and write!

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Published On: 20 May 2022Categories: Articles, Deaf Awareness

A literacy resource for teachers of the deaf

There are no requirements for teachers at schools for the deaf, no sign language requirements and no deaf education requirements. A school for the deaf can appoint a teacher who just finished their degree and who has no knowledge about deafness or sign language. One of the consequences is that these teachers do not know how to teach deaf children to read because they have only learned how to teach hearing children.

We have adapted an existing literacy program that is specifically aimed at deaf children. Instead of relying on sounds to teach reading, this program uses fingerspelling. Fingerspelling is the practice of using specific hand shapes that represent the letters of the alphabet. Fingerspelling in a fluent way and grouping syllables can successfully teach deaf children to read.

We are currently piloting the program at some schools for the deaf and are looking forward to sharing the results. We already received positive feedback and the children are enjoying the program.

The program is also in the process of being translated to Afrikaans. We are excited to see how this program can have a positive influence on Deaf children.