The app is designed to improve the literacy and language skills of all children. All stories are told with the options of:
- an English language voiceover
- an American Sign Language performance by two of the USA’s best ASL storytellers Peter Cook and Keith Wann
- music and sound effects
- subtitles which can be customised by size, font and color to make them easier to read for children and adults with dyslexia.
- each element can be switched on and off independently so parents, carers and teachers can change the delivery of each story as necessary.
The power of sign language to help all children learn to read and to communicate is increasingly being realised. Firstly, it’s fun! It brings storytelling ‘out of the book’ and encourages children to enjoy reading for pleasure and to develop a lifelong love of reading. Sign language also helps children become confident expressing themselves using facial expressions and body language.
American Sign Language is accepted in Texas schools, as in most states across the USA, as fulfilling the foreign language requirement, and we very much admire the USA’s commitment to ASL. It has huge potential to break down barriers for deaf people and the stigma of sign language, and to help children understand more about deafness and other disabilities. We know that deaf children across Texas are using the app, including children at the Texas School for the Deaf.
Our research has shown us that it’s not just deaf children using sign language as their first language. Children whose spoken language is delayed or affected by autism, cerebral palsy and Down Syndrome are also being taught to sign.
And baby sign language is a huge trend at the moment. It’s been proven to give babies and toddlers a head start in life by teaching them to interact and communicate with their family from a very young age - My Smart Hands in Dallas says it also improves the cognitive abilities of children.
We know the Signed Stories app is being used around the world in homes and schools, creating real synergy between home and school, and between children of all abilities - they can all use the same resource on a 'cool' device.
The app is free to download for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/signed-stories/id550966811?mt=8 and you can download a free book.