UN SDG #4 Quality Education UN SDG #4
UN SDG #10 Reduced Inequality UN SDG #10

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Bringing a signing-based approach to teaching literacy

American Sign Language (ASL) has been one of the primary means of communication for the deaf since the early 1800s after Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet helped to develop the language and then went on to establish a university for the deaf. Now, the practice of teaching hearing children sign language is gaining popularity.

challenge

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Bringing a signing-based approach to teaching literacy

American Sign Language (ASL) has been one of the primary means of communication for the deaf since the early 1800s after Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet helped to develop the language and then went on to establish a university for the deaf. Now, the practice of teaching hearing children sign language is gaining popularity.
326M
people impacted
$627.3B
potential funding
the problem
Nature and Context

ASL is now classified as a world language, the same as Spanish, French, or any other foreign language. Therefore, if a child speaks sign language, the child is considered bilingual. When children are taught English and ASL together, they are processing language using both sides of the brain. This gives the children two places to recall language from instead of just one. Research has found that the use of signs and finger spelling will accommodate a wide range of learning styles: “verbal linguistic,” kinesthetic” and “interpersonal.” Using ASL is the representation of information through seeing, hearing, and movement, and the more pathways that are created in the brain, the stronger the memory.

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ideas
Ideas Description

London-based Signs for Success has been working on literacy programmes for 0-6-year-olds for many years. Word Rumble is their latest initiative. It uses a series of videos and online games to teach children using their approach, which is based on using sign-language. The program was a finalist at the BETT Awards 2014.

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