Reading to Your Child

Early Childhood Education CSD (Fremont)

Strategies for reading to your child

CSD Fremont has a video with different strategies to use during reading to a child. A grandma was reading to her four years old grandson. Below, a list of 15 principles for reading to Deaf children (also can be used with CODA with ASL). There is also a link under the principles that will explain in ASL and additional examples.

Shared reading is the “joint use of picture books to talk about the pictures, read the text, and discuss the story ideas”

Kerr & Mason, 1993

David R. Schleper outlines 15 principles for adults to use when reading to deaf and hard of hearing children. The research is based on what deaf parents do when reading to their deaf and hard of hearing children. The deaf parents:

(you also can do that with your CODA child without using voice.)

  1. Translate stories using American Sign Language. Focus on concepts and use lots of fingerspelling.

  2. Keep both languages (ASL and English) visible. Make sure children see both the signing and the words and pictures.

  3. Elaborate on the text. Add explanations about the text to make it more understandable.

  4. Reread stories on a "storytelling" to a "story reading" continuum. The first few times, make sure the child understands the story. Then, slowly, focus more and more on the text.

  5. Follow the child's lead. What does the child want to read? What if the child wants to read just one part of a book, then move to another? Follow the child.

  6. Make what is implied explicit. Make the hidden meaning clear.

  7. Adjust sign placement to fit the story. Sometimes sign on the page. Sometimes sign on the child. And sometimes sign in the usual place.

  8. Adjust the signing style to fit the story. Be dramatic. Play with the signs and exaggerate facial expressions to show different characters.

  9. Connect concepts in the story to the real world. Relate the characters to real events.

  10. Use attention maintenance strategies. Tap lightly on your child's shoulder, or give a gentle nudge to keep his or her attention.

  11. Use eye gaze to elicit participation. Look at the child while reading.

  12. Engage in role-playing to extend concepts. Act out the story after you have read it.

  13. Use ASL variations to sign repetitive English phrases. If you are using the same phrase over and over, vary the signs.

  14. Provide a positive and reinforcing environment. Encourage the child to share ideas about the story and support the child's ideas.

  15. Expect the child to become literate. Believe in the child's success and read, read, read!

You can also watch 15 principles videos with examples (in ASL and voice interpreted) @