Toddler's reading and literacy in American Sign Language

The toddler Juli has been exposed to American Sign Language (ASL) as her first/native language since birth. Along the way, she has been exposed to reading books since birth as well. That is, her literacy develops.

Toddler reading and fingerspelling letters

I first noticed that Juli (age 2;1,3) read four ASL signs from right to left in ASL Rose's book "HYES". She pointed to each of the four images from left to right and listened to my ASL utterance. She did the same every time like Japanese reading left to right.

Shortly then, Juli looked at the advertising card showing the brand name from my Acura dealer and uttered mother('s), yours. I decided to show her the brand name as shown on the card and what was shown on my car. I took Juli to my car with the advertising card. (see video at age 2;2)

To my surprise, not only Juli read the alphabetical letters from left to right (backward), but she also fingerspelled each of the alphabetical letters for the first time all by herself.

It was her first fingerspelled name, reading letter by letter herself. Reading from left to right was an interesting phenomenon.

Todder reading and signing in ASL

Not only Juli (age 2;3,3) was able to read and fingerspell a word, but she also recognized a word and signed the word.

For example, she opened the English word scary with no picture in an interactive app in our mini-iPad. She uttered scared in ASL when she read the word scary.

Reading, literacy and videos

Literacy development is evident when Juli (2;3,3) understood symbols that represented what things were. For example, I was concerned that Juli was hooked by watching "Curious George on the YouTube app on our iPad. I decided to delete the YouTube app afterward.

Juli was upset when she discovered that the YouTube app disappeared. She found a way to get into YouTube on the browser via another app (advertised button linked to YouTube video). Again, I deleted the YouTube app and the interactive app that led to YouTube.

Again, Juli was upset about it. She found another way to the Apple Store app and opened the section. Despite that she needed my password, the app had an icloud icon that she could download the app and got into YouTube again. Once Juli slept, I figured out how to delete apps from iCloud.

Eventually, Juli learned more ways to get into YouTube. My final accomplishment was to go into the settings and turned off the Internet connection. This well-kept secret lasted for a very long time.

Language development

Some of the following random words and phrases that Juli used this week: pancake with syrup (new use of "new"), alarm! alarm! firefighter men (alarm outside), some more shown in the video above, and other ASL words mentioned in the past months.

This documentation project follows a baby's language acquisition, literacy development, and phonological acquisition in sign language, specifically ASL, week by week from gazing at birth to manual babbling, to first words just before the first birthday in a natural native-ASL environment and visual culture.

The second-year and third-year documentation continues to follow the same child's language and phonological acquisition and literacy development in ASL on a weekly basis from the one-word stage to two-word and multiple utterances.

The documentary continues to follow the same child's ASL language and literacy development on a regular basis from age three to four. It surveys ASL phonological acquisition and more complex utterances.

These posts on ASL-English bilingualism, language acquisition, and bilingual education may be of an interest for parents who raise a bilingual-bimodal child in ASL (or another signed language) and English (or another written and/or spoken language of its respective) as well as informative and educational for ASL specialists, educators, and professionals.