SASL Journal Vol. 1, No. 1 - Page 42

Reading Methodology for Deaf Children Supalla Making English Readable for Deaf Children As expected for curriculum, instruction, and assessment alignment, the glossing approach adopted at the Arizona charter school had an impact on what reading materials looked like, how a teacher taught reading skills, and how deaf children’s reading skills were assessed. The educators and researchers were sensitive to the fact that deaf children enrolled at the charter school were young and had not yet learned to read (e.g., kindergartners). Recall that medieval students would read gloss passages attached to Latin text. The medieval students were older and accomplished readers. They read in their own language to learn about Latin. No truly intermediary system is in use here. This is where the idea of doing more by glossing the English text itself emerged at the charter school. The English text was manipulated to the point that it resembled ASL’s morpho-syntactic structure. To distinguish an ASL text from that of a regular text, the printed English words or roots are fully capitalized. The ordering of words in a given sentence may be changed (as ASL has a flexible word order as compared to English). A set of conventions were created to help fully represent ASL’s grammatical structure by using an underline or a symbol attached to the beginning or end of a basic English word or root, for example. True to the objective of glossing, the English text is made clear to deaf children through the nec essary manipulation. The children at the charter school could read the text word by word when it was consistent with ASL morphologically and syntactically. It is important to note that text manipulation has been recognized as a way of improving reading performance for all children. Ralabate (2011) explained that text manipulation is critical for improving the reading outcomes of students with disabilities. For whatever reading difficulties there may be, the text itself can be problematic and manipulation can make all the difference. Hundreds of gloss books were created at the charter school, derived from children’s literature and basal readers. It is now necessary to explain what gloss text looks like exactly. The basis for creating gloss text is interlinear translation. The English sentence example below showing before and after manipulation will help clarify the technique: Before Manipulation: The dog is chasing the cat. After Manipulation: DOG NOW CHASE>IX=3 CAT S. Supalla and Cripps (2011) produced the sentence examples above and provided a detailed description of how glossing took place with the original English sentence as follows: [The gloss sentence] depicts four English words all capitalized to represent the four signs produced as an equivalent of the English sentence composed of the six words… [s]tructurally, no definite article is used in the ASL gloss sentence, which is correct for the signed language. The ASL gloss sentence also indicates a rough equivalence of the present progressive tense in English, with the insertion of NOW as a separate word (or “time sign”) before the verb. In addition, the ASL verb CHASE undergoes a third person object agreement inflection (i.e., the movement of the verb is [modified] to agree with the location of the cat in the SASLJ, Vol. 1, No. 1 – Fall/Winter 2017 42