Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center

Becoming Bilingual: Facilitating English Literacy Development Using ASL in Preschool

Author: Lynne Erting, Ph.D., and Judy Pfau

Preschool programs serving deaf and hard of hearing children face the tough challenge of educating children with varying language skills, yet somewhat similar language development needs. A majority of these children have yet to develop a strong linguistic base. A small number of students from deaf families have strong first language skills but need to have curriculum delivered in the language that they understand. To address this problem, the authors propose the use of ASL and written language to facilitate the development of English literacy. They take a bilingual perspective in which ASL is the primary language for face-to-face communication and written English is the second language. The paper cites extensive research supporting this approach and provides many examples of bilingual practices and strategies that promote English literacy.

This is a Sharing Results paper. The "Sharing Results" series comprises occasional papers that describe the results of work undertaken by the Clerc Center.

Download this free publication now