EDUDEAF: Reading Online

Key Words: Deaf Education information, Deafness and Related Issues, Deaf Education

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Subj: Re: Insomniac, and why
Date: 96-12-29 18:39:24 EST
From: mgeorge@CAPITAL.EDU (MaryEllen George)
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To: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (Multiple recipients of list EDUDEAF)

I have been following this wonderful discussion about Susan Manross's excitement over her son's interest in online reading.

As a library science student, I am curious to know if the library or bookstore or other "medium" was/is used by parents in finding books for deaf children. Do parents of deaf children find the library a helpful place for locating books, especially books about deaf characters portrayed in positive ways? How can libraries best meet the needs of both deaf children and parents and teachers of deaf children? Any comments on this topic would be most helpful as I'm considering doing research on this topic. I am a hearing impaired person myself and am interested in what outreach programs libraries can and need to provide to the deaf community.

I can post a hit to this group when I receive responses for others who may be interested in this information also. Thanks everyone!!

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Subj: Son disclaimer! ;-)
Date: 96-12-30 08:43:49 EST
From: smanros@EN.COM (Susan Manross)
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Dear Edudeafers - I am sitting here chuckling to myself!! but...I thought to make Steve & Jamie Berke a bit happier that I should set the record straight. They have the 9 yr old deaf son, I don't! I just teach other ones - 5 of them, 6-7 yrs old in Cleveland, OH! >BIG grin!< Altho......I always wanted a son! Gosh, if I would have known adoption could have been this easy, I would have tried it yrs ago! >g<

PS I think we need an APA style established for sending email messages. Obviously, my method of inserting other's text lead to confusion. My style of writing did not make comprehension easy for the reader! Sorry!

Sue Manross (Mom of 2 daughters last time I checked!)
Cleveland, OH
smanros@en.com

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Subj: Re: Insomniac, and why
Date: 96-12-29 23:05:24 EST
From: CBRAN00@UKCC.UKY.EDU (Cathy Brandt)
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On Sun, 29 Dec 1996 13:50:24 -0500 Steve and Jamie Berke said:

> When we read an online story, he becomes more interactive. Hard to put into words what I mean - I just sense it is more interactive than it was when we read regular books. When we read regular books, either I read to him, or he reads it himself (using sign) and I watch and help out as needed. With online stories, he seems to tolerate my reading to him more easily or more quickly volunteers to read it himself. And with online stories, our parent-child interaction somehow seems more positive, more relaxed, with less tension and less frustration.>

Along with Sue I'm greatly intrigued by this exciting development. It's really tough for those of us who aren't in the room with you to make specific observations etc. But, our minds still whirl with imagining and wondering the "why's" and "how's" of all of this.

I do agree with your assessment that he's a 90's child. Kids today are simply exposed to much more technical entertainment. Cardboard boxes that kept many of us busy for hours or even days inventing new ways to play have been replaced with fast paced engaging objects.

Traditional books simply do not move. They do not "come alive" so to speak as do many of the toys with which children are more accustomed. Computers provide movement, motion, interaction.

But, more than that -- I WONDER if some children who are deaf and in mainly ASL or signing environments are much more keyed in to MOVEMENT, to ACTION, to INTERACTION. Print simply does not provide this motion to which they have become accustomed in order to derive meaning. It does not entice them to interact as does signing or a computer.

Kids love to move, to be active to be involved. Action packed and intriguing activities are ones in which children learn best.

Thus it may be that for some children PRINT, or the mere signing of text, does not create the interactive environment to which they are accustomed. These children experience/derive meaning from ACTION and INTERACTION.

HOW parents "stage" reading or story time with children may be a critical factor to consider. Computers may be one TOOL which will help books "come alive."

Any other thoughts?

Cathy

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Subj: Re: Insomniac, and why
Date: 96-12-30 14:28:24 EST
From: lmetlay@ACU.PATHOLOGY.ROCHESTER.EDU (Leon A. Metlay)
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To: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (Multiple recipients of list EDUDEAF)

MaryEllen George asked:

> As a library science student, I am curious to know if the library or bookstore or other "medium" was/is used by parents in finding books for deaf children.

My daughter is only 3. So far our major source of books for her has been the books that we loved when we were children. We are online from our offices, so online stories are not yet an option. Hanni goes to Rochester School for the Deaf. The RSD library has become a more important source of books recently. They let each child choose and take home two books per week. In addition, they have made sign language videos of many of the books and each child can take home one book/video combination per week. (The videos have an ASL rendition interspersed with pictures from the book and then a Signed English rendition.) Hanni clearly has the concept of "library". Recently I took her to a local public library. She was excited to go, and once I pointed her towards the picture books, she just toddled over and started looking at books. I must have read her six stories in an hour, it was great.

Do parents of deaf children find the library a helpful place for locating books, especially books about deaf characters portrayed in positive ways?>

So far we have not really tried to find books with deaf characters. We've been mostly concentrating on just getting her to pay attention to books. Getting her to pay attention to books has come from an unlikely source, potty training. We got her the wonderful book "Once upon a potty" (by Alona Frankel) when we were trying to get her more interested in doing it. Not only did it get her interested in potty training but also in reading. She reads more on the pot than anywhere else. All of her favorite books wind up on the shelf in the bathroom.

> How can libraries best meet the needs of both deaf children and parents and teachers of deaf children?>

Having books about deafness or with deaf characters is good. For hearing parents of deaf children having sign language resources is more important (IMHO). That could include instructional videos, dictionaries, CD-ROMs, but also stories with little cartoons inserted showing the proper signs for the story (like the ones published by Gallaudet U.)

Leon

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Subj: Re: Insomniac, and why
Date: 96-12-30 17:47:26 EST
From: novak@NETOPTIONS.COM.AU (Novak)
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Sue,

I don't know that I have any magical answers to shed.... but - the success Steve and Jamie have had with their son reading on the Net doesn't surprise me that much.

Since the introduction of computers to our school I have watched with amazement students who have always found 'writing' difficult, tedious and frustrating just 'click' with doing the same tasks on a computer. The power of the editing tools on a computer make things like spell checking fun and challenging. The value of neatness - layout - becomes another challenge. The process of drafting, editing and re-drafting is no longer the painfully long process it was when it had to be done by hand. We have students lining up to use the computers at lunchtimes.... and they are not playing games, they are working on school projects and assignments.

I am convinced that for Deaf students, the Internet can be to reading what the computer has been to writing. I am currently grappling with how to introduce and excite students who find reading difficult to what is predominantly a print based media. When I have presented selected stories from the Internet to deaf students of all ages, I too have been amazed at their interest and reaction. I am also finding that older students who have had little success with reading are interested and inspired to go surfing. I am still in the early stages of exploring and experimenting with getting kids on-line and certainly have no statistics of success.....

So when I hear of the interest of Steve and Jamie's son it does not come as that much of a surprise to me. It kinds of backs up my gut feeling of what may be in the future.....

Do I sound as though I am hooked on the Net ????!!!???? :-) Bev

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Subj: Re: Insomniac, and why
Date: 96-12-30 19:01:21 EST
From: smanros@EN.COM (Susan Manross)
Sender: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education)
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To: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (Multiple recipients of list EDUDEAF)

Bev - yep, you *definitely* sound excited about computers! :-) We, at our school, are slated on the first go-around for new computers. I have been "lusting" for my own classroom computer for about 4 years now! The day should be coming soon! In Ohio, our "education" governor has appropriated monies to have 1 computer per every 5 kids in grades K-4! I was principal writer for our tech plan last Mar. We are still waiting for computers and to be wired in????? :-( BUT....................when we are hooked up????? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, Sue's imagination is running amuck! AND...............since I don't have mine yet, I am getting a vicarious thrill hearing about Steve and Jamie's success with their son!

Sue Manross Cleveland, OH, USA

On Tue, 31 Dec 1996, Novak wrote:
> Since the introduction of computers to our school I have watched with amazement students who have always found 'writing' difficult, tedious and frustrating just 'click' with doing the same tasks on a computer.>

What sort of things are you doin' with the little guys? My kids are 6-7 yrs old. Are your computers in a lab or classrooms?

> students lining up to use the computers at lunchtimes.... and they are not playing games, they are working on school projects and assignments.>

GREAT!!

> I am convinced that for Deaf students, the Internet can be to reading what the computer has been to writing. I am currently grappling with how to introduce and excite students who find reading difficult to what is predominantly a print based media. When I have presented selected stories from the Internet to deaf students of all ages, I too have been amazed at their interest and reaction. I am also finding that older students who have had little success with reading are interested and inspired to go surfing. I am still in the early stages of exploring and experimenting with getting kids on-line and certainly have no statistics of success..... So when I hear of the interest of Steve and Jamie's son it does not come as that much of a surprise to me. It kinds of backs up my gut feeling of what may be in the future..... >

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Subj: Re: Insomniac, and why
Date: 96-12-30 19:12:11 EST
From: novak@NETOPTIONS.COM.AU (Novak)
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>On Tue, 31 Dec 1996, Novak wrote: > Since the introduction of computers to our school I have watched with amazement students who have always found 'writing' difficult, tedious and frustrating just 'click' with doing the same tasks on a computer. What sort of things are you doin' with the little guys? My kids are 6-7 yrs old. Are your computers in a lab or classrooms? >

Well..... this is the point at which I need my work buddy to be on-line ... and I have a suspicion she may be on holiday (we are currently enjoying our summer vacation down this end of the world!) ..... there are a variety of activities that students are using. (I will get the computer teacher at our school to respond in more precise detail) Computers are in what you call a 'lab' - we simply call it the 'computer room' as well as in classes.... I think a couple of classrooms share a computer. We are using mostly Macs in the school.

In the library - which is where I work - we have the library collection automated and have a couple of stand alone PCs.... One is linked to the Internet, the other is mostly used for CD Roms. We are planning to expand the Internet access next months to at least three access points so as to allow 'easier' class use.

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Subj: Re: Insomniac, and why
Date: 97-01-02 22:31:18 EST
From: hwhite@NETOPTIONS.COM.AU (Helen White)
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At 10:10 AM 12/31/96 +1000, Sue Manross wrote:
>What sort of things are you doin' with the little guys? My kids are 6-7 yrs old. Are your computers in a lab or classrooms?>

and Bev Novak responded with:
>Well..... this is the point at which I need my work buddy to be on-line ... and I have a suspicion she may be on holiday.>

I am on holidays but still lurking. I work at the same school as Bev and am in the computer room. Our 6-7 yr olds only come to the computer room once-a-week and we have a great time using Kid Pix Studio, the old Print Shop and CD ROMs. The classroom teacher lets me know the curriculum topics and we attempt to produce graphics and sentences. Kid Pix Studio has many different picture stamps which the students can make interesting picture stories. Try illustrating "The very hungry caterpillar"-stamp the apple and make a hole (it is very simple & the graphic looks professional). The students will then make up there own things to put holes in and a new story has begun.

Hopefully this year we will get computers into all the Primary classrooms. Hope this is helpful.

Helen White

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Subj: The third night
Date: 96-12-30 10:35:18 EST
From: berke@EROLS.COM (Steve and Jamie Berke)
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Last night was the third straight night of reading online stories.

The first story was way too short, so we read a couple more. He resisted it, but not as much as he would have resisted with regular books. At any rate we got through the other stories ok.

At one point he was standing right in front of me (instead of sitting) and watching me sign. I thought he was not paying attention to the words on the screen, and when I said to him "look at the words too" he said he WAS, out of the corner of his eyes or by shifting his gaze back and forth which I hadn't noticed because I was too busy signing.

When I think about it, it must be hard for a deaf child when reading a print book - "do I look at the book, or do I look at my parent's signs?" Even if the book is right in front of both the parent & child, it is physically difficult to look at both signs and print simultaneously, I think. Online presents the same choice, but it seems easier for the child to shift back & forth. With the online stories, I can highlight a sentence, I can sign it, check with a quick gaze to see if he understood, then go on to the next one. Or if I come across a word for which I don't know the sign, I can highlight it and he can help me out or we pause while I look it up in my now-battered sign language dictionary. Then we can pick up right where we left off because it is still highlighted on the screen. Likewise for words for which he does not know the meaning.

Another thing, there is the problem of physical space when reading from a print book. I personally like reading the online stories better because there isn't the problem of having to sit close together in order to be able to see the book together. Whether it is sitting together on a bed, using the same or two chairs, or a couch, there is always that problem of physical space. With the computer, we can sit separately comfortably with as much space as we like, and while we are still close together there isn't the problem of having to find a way to position the book so we both can see it and sign comfortably -- the computer screen just sits there in front of us, and we just shift around till we find the seating positions (or standing positions) we are comfortable with.

When we run out of online stories, I'll have to start buying stories on CD-ROM. I'm sure that is available, and stories on CD-ROM aren't that much different, I'm sure.

I think Cathy is right - our kids are kids of the '90s, and old-fashioned print books no longer hold the same magic for them that they did for us when we grew up in the pre-Internet era. And, I guess, I'm a '90s parent. Last night my husband tried to read an online story with my son; he told my husband he wanted me instead! Clearly, he sees mom as the "computer expert" as compared to dad (who's no technophobe, but is not quite the pro I am with the computer).

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Subj: Re: The third night
Date: 96-12-30 11:57:09 EST
From: CBRAN00@UKCC.UKY.EDU (Cathy Brandt)
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To: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (Multiple recipients of list EDUDEAF)

Hmmmmmm, I only think this is true for SOME kids. I've had kids in my class who LOVE books and LOVE to read. I'm not sure WHAT makes the difference.

Certainly there are hearing children who love to read and others who would much prefer to be outside climbing a tree. All kids are different and enjoy various activities in varying degrees.

Even kids of the 90's do still love books and the stories do hold that same magic. I think it depends on the child, the kinds of interests and books that are available as well as THE PURPOSE for reading. Kids who have to read "cuz it is time to read" are rarely going to experience the same magic others experience when they "choose" to read.

Reading has always been an intriguing area - fast paced, electronic means are certainly a great asset to those who of us who need something "extra" to hook those reluctant readers.

Cathy

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Subj: Re: The third night
Date: 96-12-30 19:05:31 EST
From: novak@NETOPTIONS.COM.AU (Novak)
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At 10:33 30/12/96 -0500, you wrote:
>When we run out of online stories, I'll have to start buying stories on CD-ROM. I'm sure that is available, and stories on CD-ROM aren't that much different, I'm sure.>

Jamie,

I have used the Living Books series of CD Roms verys successfully with my students at school. I am the librarian in the school and when I introduce a new CD Rom story I tend to sign the print to them the first time around and then they can sign and 'play' with the story on future encounters. Initially in a class situation I have had the class - 5 to 6 kids sit around the computer, but on future occasions I have two kids sitting together with me 'on hand' to help with any difficulties.

I like the Living Books series because they are based on 'real' books eg. Mercer Mayer's Just Grandma and Me. Real cute stories. My introduction of the CD Rom is preceeded by reading the story in book form.

Hope this helps - but going by the list of on-line sites generated by this group it will be a while before you need to 'resort' to CD Roms!

Regards,
Bev

Uploaded by: B.J. Lawrence/ Kent State University/ Deaf Education Major