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Category Archives: Literature

Reading to your baby using sign language

  • How to interact with your baby using sign language

Darlene is a deaf Australian woman sharing how to introduce literacy to her hearing child.

From her YouTUBE post:
It’s about how to read a book to your baby using sign language. This was a main question I've been asked on how to do that with deaf and hearing babies using sign language. Basically, using body, visual props, simple signs and some basic noises, the baby follows you easily n interact in his way. Already recognized about 10 signs consistently at the age of nearly 4 months old. Transcript provided below.


Hello I'm Darlene, and this is my baby – his name’s Torben. He is nearly 4 months old now. For past a month, I’ve started to sign the story from a book – just signing. He loves to watch me signing, as well as others too. He started to watch at the age of 2 months old, and really enjoyed watching people signing. I do not know if he understood or relate to anything we signed to him but there’s the exposure for him.

I wanted to show you how I interact with Torben on a book that we read together everyday. (to Torben) are you ready to read the book? Yes! The book is called “Farm Babies” by Rod Campbell. NOTE – Torben is a hearing baby, so I use some noises to keep focus on – he prefers visuals over noises though.

Those inside the brackets are the actions I did with Torben. (Taps on the book and waited for Torben to see the book and back to me before I started.) Farm (rub on tum as a sign for farm) animals… Yea! Let’s go for a walk and have a look (fingers walking up from his tum to shoulder). Look there – go for a walk and have a look (this time I added look on his cheek for LOOK).

Have a look what is that (with appropriate facial expression for questioning and finger guiding the tail on book). Oh! A cow, moo! (then on Torben’s head, cow and moo). Go for a walk and have a look. Ah! Sheep, baa! (on his head, sheep and on his tum – baa baa). Go for a walk and have a look. Ohh! Dog! (tapping on his leg twice and WOOF, using his hand, then a little action with fingers flicking his cheek as dog would lick – we have a dog here who do that to him so this is a good association to use.)

Go for a walk and have a look. Ahh! A rabbit, rabbit (on his head, then little hops all over his body before a bop on his nose.) Go for a walk and have a look. Oh. Pig OINK OINK (then on his nose Pig and oink, before squeeze his tum with more oink for variety.) Go for a walk and have a look. Ah! Ducks! Quack quack (this is his favourite – ‘quack, quack’ on his lips – this is tricky, but babies would do opposite and will self-correct later with better spatial awareness.) Go for a walk and have a look. Oh! Chooks BOK BOK BOK (same as above with index finger and thumb – bok bok, then ‘peck’ on his body.)

Yea… (Closes book) Oh finished the book. The reason why I am doing this is to show how to associate the signs, visual props, vocalisations and physical touches and incorporate them all into the book reading activity with the baby. This encourages the interaction between parent and baby, maintain eye contact and still allow dialogue and actions in order – babies acquired sign language in this way faster… as they understand more by association, especially when using the physical cues and repetitions.

Torben, for the last 2 months, has started to recognise some signs. Starting with POO and FEED, then added more signs over the time, around 5-6 signs. Such as: FEED/FOOD, BED, POO, NAPPY, BATH, CAR, DOG, BOOK, (what more do you know… ah) CLOTHING.

That’s it for now I think. So, the idea is to build up on the association of language with body as cues for locations and movements to encourage language acquisition and development for both deaf and hearing babies using sign language. Hope that helps? Thanks bye.

The Gift of the Magi

  • The Gift of the Magi "The Gift of the Magi" is a short story, written by O.Henry (a pen name for William Sydney Porter), about a young married couple and how they deal with the challenge of buying secret Christmas gifts for each other with very little money.  The plot and its "twist ending"  are well-known, and the ending is generally considered an example...

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Ophelia’s Madness Monologue

  • Ophelia’s Madness Monologue

Ophelia's Madness Monologue in ASL version by Miranda Medugno. The scenario is in Hamlet, ACT IV, SCENE V.

Acknowledgement from Miranda:

I couldn't have done this without two different groups: Gallaudet Theatre Arts Department's Hamlet Production and the translation team in 2012. Gallaudet University's ASL 709 course, which focuses on Media that heavily includes the film shooting and editing. The director for Hamlet was Ethan Sinnott and the teachers for ASL 709 was Wayne Betts, Jr., Brandon Hill, and David Davenport.

O Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman – ASL Translation by Ruth Anna

  • O Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman – ASL Translation by Ruth Anna

O Captain! My Captain!

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
                         But O heart! heart! heart!
                            O the bleeding drops of red,
                               Where on the deck my Captain lies,
                                  Fallen cold and dead.
O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
                         Here Captain! dear father!
                            This arm beneath your head!
                               It is some dream that on the deck,
                                 You’ve fallen cold and dead.
My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
                         Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
                            But I with mournful tread,
                               Walk the deck my Captain lies,
                                  Fallen cold and dead.