Language play and literacy development in sign language

Juli's eye-hand coordination had become finer -- comfortably targetting and reaching an object, pushing down a doorknob. Dropped and picked up an object.

Last week Juli began to pat on my arm communicatively. She also vocalized "maaa maaa" in the past weeks. Now a new emergence was that Juli began to reach her hands out when she wanted something nearby her.

Mirror Reading

Babies love mirror and it's fun to read to them in ASL in the mirror. Reading with baby in the mirror is one of our reading techniques.

Babies also love funny facial expression. I can integrate funny facial expression and exaggerated movements with ASL words and classifiers (e.g. barking).

Juli (m6w1) enjoyed the activity with me. I was reading to her in ASL and acting out animal visues. It is no different from hearing parents acting out animal sounds along with spoken words with their babies.

(m6w2) One day Juli's grandpa waved his hand on videophone and Juli responded. It was a repetitive series of syllables -- a similar characteristic of canonical babbling.

Could it be a combination of marginal babbling and rhythmic manual activity? She hadn't babble syllabic after that until the emergence of canonical (reduplicated) babbling some time later.

Videophone peekaboo

Juli had been getting familiar with videophone. Who knows what was going through her mind when conversing with her Grandpa and Grandma? Some little folks alive inside the thin box?

Every time talk on videophone was over, Juli found herself and her mother on videophone. I played peek-a-boo with her by turning on and off the videophone's privacy mode. It's also a wonderful learning activity on object permanence.

Tactile language play

An ASL-speaking parent does a language play of her own with her deaf baby Abbey who was 17 weeks old. It's called "rainbow painting".

The mother fingerspelled "colours" as a title. Then, she introduced an ASL word for each of the colors and painted on the baby's body.

Babies talking to one another

At the bilingual baby playgroup, two infants and Juli voiced "aah" to one another turn-taking. The first round eventually subsided.

Juli initiated the second round and soon the three voiced "aah" turn-taking for a while.

Then a bit later, the infant "Rys" patted Juli on the arm or back as Juli was playing. Then, Juli patted "Rys" on the back with her hand when Rys was playing with a toy.

ASL/CODA/KODA baby club talk

Social-butterfly stage

Six month old babies revel in their social-butterfly status. During this stage, take the opportunity of it to expose baby to people at social events.

Video clip: ASL interpreting student Amber interacted with Juli at ASL Immersion Week. "I'd like to steal you. Yes, indeed. You'll get a [new] home. Really yes."

Video clip: The ASL native signer Linda interacted with Juli (m6w1): "dog"... "You sure are not afraid of the dog, aren't you? It's indeed a good dog."

Reading with baby in sign language

If your baby is more interested in eating a book than reading, no worry. Juli had been more interested in eating books lately, but at least she was excited when seeing a book.

It was a teething stage. I offered her a teething object to soothe first before handing her a book. Or, also I let her play with the cloth book.

Video clip: Counting ladybugs from five to one. Juli was excited about the book -- only to eat it.

Video clip: Counting from one to five.

Identify colors

Video clip: (translation) "green.. blue.. yellow."

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.