DPDC Discussions: Learning to read in British Sign Language (BSL) and Sign Supported English (SSE)

Question: My child is now learning to read, we have always read books in BSL (British Sign Language), but we now use SSE (Sign Supported English) to teach words, it feels odd!  What does everyone do?

One parent said that they signed each line in SSE first and then signed in BSL to give context. As for example: ‘She looked after’ is signed word for word in SSE, but in BSL context is given when ‘looked after’ is signed to communicate ‘care’.

One parent said that they always spelt each word and used the pictures for reference.

One parent said that it is best to use two kinds of books, word books to teach reading and books with no words to develop imagination. Longwill School in Birmingham have devised their own colour coding chart for teaching reading, all words have a colour, verbs are green etc.

Everyone discussed the different signs used for teaching visual phonics, there were lots of similarities in the signs.

One phonics system is called ‘Jolly Phonics’, this teaches phonics visually. This system is also used by hearing children.

Jolly Phonics resources from TES: http://www.tes.co.uk/teaching-resource/Jolly-Phonics-flashcards-with-sign-language-6036484/

It was agreed that it would be great if a future DPDC event had a visual phonics workshop.

Research has shown that deaf children learn phonics visually. Research also showed that deaf children learned to read and write mainly via the ‘searchlight’ system before phonics became popular.

Memory work is needed to support the learning of reading and writing.

One parent said that ITV Signed Stories was being shown in mainstream classes with a deaf child, as the narration and pictures are great for hearing children, while the deaf child watches the signer. http://www.signedstories.com/

Magic Hands is also being watched in classes as poetry is enjoyed by all. http://www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/magic-hands

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If you have further advice, questions, resources or information we would love it if you could share this with us in the comments section beneath the post. Thanks!
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