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Written system for sign language: Deaf adult opinions on literacy

Could a written system for sign language improve the literacy of deaf children? What do Deaf adults in the U.S. think about the idea?
Screenshot of a computer screen that shows a frozen video above a multiple choice question. The question asks what language or mode of communication the respondent used when they were growing up.

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Although some Deaf people have good or excellent skill in reading and writing, some do not. In response, educators have worked for years to help deaf students who need more support in learning literacy skills. Meanwhile, some educators wonder if learning a written system for sign language might help deaf students learn other written languages, including English. But only a few writing systems are used for sign languages around the world, and most Deaf adults never learned any of them. One researcher listened to Deaf adults in the United States express their opinions about literacy in a written form of American Sign Language (ASL). Read what she learned in her research. She also shares recommendations for more research on written literacy in sign language. What do Deaf adults think about a written system for sign language? And how can educators translate this into improved literacy for Deaf students?

Author Jennifer Keogh submitted this doctoral thesis in 2013. The PDF file is partly accessible for people using screen reading software with some difficulty. For example, it does not use bookmarks and does not tell screen reading software its natural language.

Also explore other research related to deaf education. Or, explore other academic literature related to sign languages.

Click here to show & hide the transcript with descriptions


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