Deaf children reading fables: using ASL summaries to improve reading comprehension

American Annals of the Deaf
Jean F AndrewsG DeVille


This study was a cooperative effort of two university-based reading educators and a reading teacher-librarian who is deaf. An intervention technique was designed based on studies emphasizing the importance of using American Sign Language (ASL) to build deaf children's background knowledge before they read materials that support the learning of English. The teacher used the ASL summary technique; that is, she signed a summary of a fable in ASL without giving the moral lesson before having the students read the fable in printed English. "Retelling scores" were computed for seven deaf elementary school students who read some fables with the ASL intervention and read other fables without the intervention. The students' responses in telling the moral lesson of each fable were also scored. The data showed that the ASL summary technique increased the quantity and quality of the retelling scores; it also improved deaf readers' comprehension of the moral lessons of the fables. A description of the ASL summary technique and a discussion of its implications for teachers are provided.


Jun 7, 2013·Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education·Cheryl M LangeDyan L Sherwood
Apr 23, 2014·Research in Developmental Disabilities·Ana-Belén DomínguezJesus Alegría

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