Shared Reading Project
The Shared Reading Project (SRP) is a highly successful programme that was developed at the Gallaudet University Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Centre to promote early literacy among young deaf and hard of hearing children. The SRP is designed to teach parents and other caregivers how to share books with their deaf or hard of hearing children using Sign Language, and how to use strategies to make book sharing most effective. In 2012, the Deaf Education Centre embarked on creating resources for an Irish Shared Reading Project for families with deaf children.
What is the Shared Reading Project
The Shared Reading Project was originally designed in the Hawai’i Center for Deaf and Blind and was then brought to the Clerc Centre in Gallaudet University in Washington DC where it was expanded and rolled out across the United States. You can read more about their SRP here. It provides resources and support to hearing parents and caregivers so they can learn to read with their deaf or hard of hearing children through Sign Language (ASL). It is built on the premise that hearing people can learn to read storybooks to deaf or hard of hearing children by observing how Deaf adults do it. It is based on research observing how Deaf adults read to children which has produced 15 Principles for Reading to Deaf Children. These can be viewed here.
The Clerc Centre have lots of resources available in American Sign Language, but these were no use to an Irish audience. In April 2012, our coordinator approached the Catholic Institute for Deaf People for funding to create resources in Irish Sign Language for our own Shared Reading Project. CIDP agreed and the project got up and running.
How Does it Work?
In the Shared Reading Programme, a trained ISL Home Tutor visits your family each week. They bring a book pack which contains a child’s story book and resources for your family. The leave the pack with you so that you can practise with the DVD and when the tutor returns, you will be able to ask any questions you may have. Each week the tutor will bring a new book pack for your family to enjoy. Each book pack contains: a copy of the book, a DVD of a Deaf adult signing the story (if is important to note that the DVD is for the parents ONLY and should not be used with the child), a bookmark which contains tips for reading with your deaf or hard of hearing child, and an activity sheet that includes optional suggestions of activities which will help to support your child’s engagement and understanding of the book.