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EVERY CHILD loves, and deserves, a great story. Great stories invite children into our vast world, encouraging new ways to imagine and then leading them down the path to reading and learning. The inspiration behind the VL2 Storybook Apps comes from the belief that there are many ways to tell a great story.

Our way is to provide exciting and captivating stories in both American Sign Language (ASL) and English. Children can watch the story in ASL or start reading it in English. At any point throughout the story in English, children can tap the screen to watch that part of the story in ASL. Children can also touch specific English words to see them fingerspelled as well as being signed in ASL.

Why provide a story in both ASL and English? Several major research studies on bilingualism and visual learning show that learning two languages leads to greater literacy skills in both languages, and the younger, the better. Young visual learners, deaf and hearing, do benefit tremendously from continued exposure to ASL and written English. Also, we now have the technology to create storybook apps that present full-length stories in both languages.

We love stories. And we love sharing great stories— especially now that we have this new form of visual storytelling in ASL and English!

The Importance of Fingerspelling in Learning to Read

For young and emerging Deaf readers, the role of fingerspelling is important. Fingerspelling bridges ASL and English. It provides a rich gateway into ASL's "visual phonology" for emerging readers and also strengthens children's sound phonological decoding of the English text.

Frequent fingerspelling helps children become better readers and facilitates English vocabulary growth. Deaf and hard of hearing readers who are good at fingerspelling are also good readers, and vice versa! Of course, the same holds for frequent signing to children!

About Visual Language and Visual Learning

Visual Language and Visual Learning (VL2) is a Science of Learning Center in the United States, funded by the National Science Foundation, and is based at Gallaudet University in Washington D.C. VL2 is a collaborative effort with more than 15 labs nationwide, all interested in the visual learning process. We seek to understand more about how learning through visual processes, visual language, and visually based social experience contributes to the development of language, reading, and literacy, and in ways that provide fascinating cognitive and linguistic advantages to the young visual learner. We seek this knowledge for the benefit of all humans.

About Motion Light Lab

Motion Light Lab (ML2) is a space where creative literature and digital technology intersect to create immersive learning experiences. Our projects focus on how scientific discoveries and research foundations made by the Visual Language and Visual Learning Center can be translated into fun, educational learning tools and resources for visual learners. The digital frontier is our playground.