What is the sign for "literacy" or "literate"? There are two signs, depending on which specific meaning you are referring to.

Meaning: the ability to read and write; literacy.

Most people think of "literacy" in its simplified concept based on the ability to read and write. The ASL sign "literacy" also reflects this concept.

Meaning: "the ability to read, write, speak and listen in a way that lets us communicate effectively and make sense of the world." --

The concept "literacy" refers to much more than just the ability to read and write. This sign was shown by Marlon Kuntze (PhD) who is Deaf in his presentations on literacy in Deaf children. His research involves in the area of language, cognitive and literacy development, especially in bilingual Deaf children who are fluent in ASL and acquire written English as a second language.

Related signs: READ, WRITE, MATH.

Deaf Studies

The concept "literacy" refers to much more than just the ability to read and write. How do Deaf children acquire written English without spoken English? Explore literacy and biliteracy in Deaf children and hearing children of Deaf parents.

For the past hundreds and hundreds of years, hearing society has been obsessed with fixing deaf people who have been fighting against hearing oppression. For hearing people, speech is their value. For us Deaf people, bi-literacy, bilingualism, and (sign) language via eye are our values, as well as self-determination.

Many Deaf people who have no hearing aids nor cochlear implants are highly literate and have excellent English skills in writing/reading, thanking to ASL (or any signed languages) and bilingualism from early childhood or even best from birth. On the other hand, some deaf people in the older generations have faced struggles with literacy because of language deprivation and/or delay in early childhood where signing was forbidden in name of speech.

Books and Internet are Deaf people's value and appreciation. In general, Deaf people prefer education, literacy, and sign language (bilingualism) over mandatory speech imposed on us by hearing society.

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