The sign of a good story

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By Garry Slack — Author of the Learn to Sign with Olli series of books

Using sign language to tell a story can have wide-ranging benefits – and not just for deaf or hearing impaired children – Garry Slack explains.


Traditionally, story time in the classroom has clearly defined roles: the storyteller reads aloud from the book and the children listen passively to the tale. But imagine if there was a way to create a story time session that combined elements from another language – not a spoken language, but one that uses the hands, body and facial expressions to add interest, emotion and expression to the story. Imagine how this could change the children from being passive listeners to active participants.

Well, there is such a way. Using sign language to sign the keywords in the text of a story can transform an ordinary story session into an exciting, interactive experience that stimulates the children’s interest in both the story and the signs being used. It can also raise their awareness of alternative forms of communication.

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