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IRA SIG Deaf HH newsletter 2012


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IRA SIG Deaf HH newsletter 2012

  1. 1. Deaf and Hard of Hearing ReadersNewsletter May 2012 Outgoing Chair: Michele Gennaoui St. Francis de Sales School for the Deaf, Brooklyn, New York Incoming Chair: Dr. Sharon Pajka Gallaudet University, Washington, D.C. © TPM 05
  2. 2. Our SIG will present at IRA’s 57th Annual Convention in Chicago, Illinois on Tuesday, May 1, 2012, 9:00am to 10:15am in The Hyatt Regency McCormick Hotel, Room CC12A “Using Accessible Digital Media to Promote Academic Success Among Students with Hearing Loss” Presented by: Sandy G. Huston, project manager, Tina K. Caloud, specialist and Michael Clegg, video editor The Accessible Materials Project Team, from the Atlanta Area School for the Deaf also Paul Konowitch, President and CEO of Sundance/Newbridge Publishing AMP IT UP!  Changing the Face of Literacy  with ASL Accessible Materials    by Sandy Huston It has been said that a pessimist complains about the lack of wind for thesail. An optimist believes that the wind will come, but the realist adjusts the sails. Inour field, we have long opined about the poor sign skills of professionals working with students, aboutparents’ difficulties in communicating with their children, and about the lack of quality corpus available forinstruction and assessment. It is time to adjust the sails, to cast a vision - an ambitious but highly achievablevision.What if professionals, parents, and students had daily access to quality American Sign Language accessibleeducational materials in the school setting and at home? What if these materials were free and readilyavailable, enabling young children and students to have opportunities for repeated viewings that can supportthem in developing language, literacy, and academic skills?In November 2010, the Accessible Materials Project (AMP) was established through a federal schoolimprovement grant to begin work toward the fulfillment of this vision. To date, AMP has developed asignificant number of ASL accessible educational materials. The ultimate goal is that these materials willserve not only the students at the Georgia State Schools, but will also be available to students across the nationand in other countries as they are applicable. Robert Orben, speechwriter and author, states that “…. Thereare only two kinds of people in this world – the realists and the dreamers. The realists know where they aregoing. The dreamers have already been there.”AMP has “been there.” We are seeing incredible effects of ASL accessible educational texts at the AtlantaArea School for the Deaf. Join us on this exciting journey into new possibilities for students with hearing loss and their families. For further information on the Accessible Materials Project contact us by e-mail at and/or check out our Facebook page at
  3. 3. Also At This Convention on Monday, April 30, 2012 3:00 pm to 5:45 pm in McCormick Place West W 471B, A Symposium: “Engaging Different Learners: Can’t We Foster Inclusive Literacy?” Presenters: Roger Essley, Scholastic author and educational researcher St. Francis de Sales School for the Deaf faculty: Adina Schnall, Jessica Taborsky, and Michele Gennaoui Visual Tools as a Bridge between Students, Teachers, Content and Language  by Adina Schnall                 “A picture is worth a thousand words.” The source of this phrase is not entirely clear, but it is a powerfulexpression nonetheless. As early as ancient times, humans have been using drawing as a means ofcommunication. If we look back to complex hieroglyphics carved on the walls of pyramids and Mayancodices etched on folded bark, then fast-forward to today, when digitalized “Stop” and “Walk” symbols flashat every intersection and every adult can spot the nearest green-encircled lady representing coffee, we can seea kind of time-line of the many uses of visual symbols as a means of conveying information among people. Inthe classroom, teachers have used various types of drawing and visual information for many years as well. Weuse many creative means to represent information to students, from pictures illustrating various centers in theclassroom to Venn diagrams and flowcharts showing complex scientific information. As a result, our studentsare unarguably familiar with many uses of visual tools. Over the last several years, the teachers at St. Francis de Sales School for the Deaf have worked with Roger Essley, author of the books, “Visual Tools For Differentiating Reading & Writing Instruction” and “Visual Tools For Differentiating Content Area Instruction.” With his guidance, and expanding upon the techniques described in his books, I have adopted the principles of visual tools as integral elements of my instruction. I have used – and continue to use – various kinds of visual tools across the curriculum, spanning grade levels and cognitive levels of students. Visual tools allow me to present complex information to students, and allow my students to express their understanding with significantly increased complexity than spoken, written, or signed language allow them to do. Using visual tools has opened a gatewayof communication between me and my students and allowed us to break down many language barriers,circumvent cognitive obstacles, and overcome other stumbling blocks with which we had previously struggled.Using visual tools allows me to convey more information with more detail and more complexity than everbefore. Visual tools allow my students to show me, show each other, and show themselves what they know, aswell as what misconceptions they may have. Here are some examples of the extraordinary way my students and I have used visual tools to tackle complicated material and information: This year, as Martin Luther King Day approached, I decided to use visual tools to teach my fifth-graders about the famous “I have a dream” speech. The text of the speech is flowery, poetic, biblical and metaphorical, posing a serious challenge for my students who read on or below a low third-grade level. Using photographs and pictures I found online as well as my own drawings, my students and I worked
  4. 4. our way through the entire speech, reading paragraphs at a time, discussing the main ideas, and drawingillustrations to summarize each paragraph and idea. At the end of the unit, we had created a joint storyboardshowing illustrations of the entire speech, paragraph by paragraph. Using their drawings as a guide, they wereable to summarize all the main ideas of the speech, accomplishing true understanding of the messages ofDr. King. At the same time, they had internalized a lot of new vocabulary relatedto the topic.Last year, as the fourth grade state science test approached, I had to face both the factthat we had not covered all of the necessary material that year, and the reality of mystudents having significant gaps in their prior knowledge of science topics. Inpreparation for the test, we spent several weeks doing a “science crash course.”Using visual tools, we drew diagrams, took visual notes and drew vivid illustrationsto quickly and efficiently cover a large amount of information. Using visual toolsenabled the students to quickly and effectively internalize new information, studyindependently, discuss and share their understanding as well as providing a way forme to identify any of their misconceptions. The result of this method of instructionand study was that the entire class passed the state science test. We also use visual tools as a bridge to language in reading and writing. I have used visual tools and storyboarding to teach concepts of genre. For example, studying mystery in fourth grade, we created a large storyboard that illustrated the structure of and relationships among the case, the detective, the clues and the solution. As we read mysteries, the students were able to fit these story elements into the visual structure, and later they were able to use the same visual map to create and write their own mysteries. When these same students were studying historical fiction in fifth grade, we used visual tools to demonstrate how a historical setting is used as a backdrop for fictional characters and events. The students each created an elaborately illustrated background board to showthe historical setting, then constructed their storyboards showing the story sequencedirectly on the background, visually combining the elements of history and fiction.Reading response is greatly enhanced by visual tools as well. Over the years I haveused visual techniques to teach skills such as summary, identifying the main idea,sequencing, finding the problem and solution. Using these tools and techniquesenables students to interact with texts that are well above their independent readinglevels. At the same time, we are able to work on vocabulary development and readingskills while using visual tools to analyze deeper levels of the text.The writing process is also enhanced by using visual tools. I have seen many students finally begin tounderstand the concepts of editing and revision by using storyboards and moving and manipulating thepictures rather than working with the words and sentences as we hade done before. Students have learned about paragraph structure and chapter structure using drawings in addition to their written sentences. Overall, I have found that visual tools enable me and my students to access and interact with more information, qualitatively and quantitatively. Visual tools allow me to raise the level of instruction and raise the students’ levels of comprehension. And, Most importantly, visual tools have given us opportunities for reading and writing development that otherwise may not have been accessible. For more information contact Adina Schnall
  5. 5. Adapted “Little Books”: An Emergent Literacy Intervention for Signing Deaf Children  By Jean F. Andrews, Mary Ann Gentry, Kristen Jackson, Zanthia Smith and Andrew Byrne  Dept. of Deaf Studies/Deaf Education, Lamar University The Current ChallengeAdapted “Little Books” is an emergent literacy program that weare investigating to see if we can jumpstart the young deaf child’sentrance into the world of independent book reading using signbilingualism. There is a significant challenge for early childhoodeducators in deaf education today. Even with Early HearingDetection Intervention (EHDI) in place, many deaf children missout on emergent literacy intervention. Moreover, even for theearly identified deaf children with the best cochlear implantsurgical outcomes, professional and parent training, they maynever develop spoken language and emergent literacy skillsduring the nursery and preschool years as hearing childrentypically do (Andrews & Dionne, 2011; Carden, 2008). Conventional preschool emergent literacy curriculumfocusing on letter-sound, picture-word, and rhyming matching activities that take a skill-based or componentialview of reading may give children a false picture of what reading is (Pearson, 1995). Interested audiologists,speech-language pathologists, early childhood specialists, parents and teachers may be looking for alternativeemergent literacy interventions that focus on the reading of whole stories.Adapted “Little Books” and the Emergent Literacy FrameworkWe adapted a program developed for emergent literacy learners called “Little Books.” It attracted us for fourreasons: 1) it was based on the introduction of whole stories to the young emergent reader through fun,enjoyable, easy-to-read picture-phrase books (Mason, 1990; McCormick and Mason, 1990) 2) it providedinstruction in small-reading-group settings where children could support each other regardless of their enteringlanguage skills 3) it had been used successfully with signing deaf children in North Carolina (Andrews &Mason, 1986a) and by its design 4) it could be used by children and parents with minimal ASL skills.The “Little Books” program has been used with more than 400 at-risk children in Head Start and rural pre-schools (Mason, 1990; Philips and al., 1996; McCormick & Mason, 1986), including signing deaf children in aTotal Communication program in North Carolina (Andrews and Mason, 1986b). This new adaptation addsASL discourse (storytelling and conversations) (Winton 1999). The sign bilingualism intervention facilitatedparent-child, teacher-child, and child-child book reading and was adapted for the classroom and the home.The program is based on the Emergent Literacy framework. The Emergent Literacy theory, now accepted byreading scholars, describes how young children learn to read (Au, Mason and Scheu, 1995; reviews by Yadenand al., 2000 and reviews by Mason & Allen, 1995). The theory has also been used by researchers studyingreading acquisition of deaf children (see reviews by Williams, 2004). The principles of the Emergent Literacytheory are the following: it claims that literacy begins at birth and unfolds on a developmental continuum.Early literacy is inner directed as children construct their own meaning of print. It begins at home beforeformal reading instruction begins. Early Literacy is a social experience and is based on holistic instruction withwhole stories. Aspects of Emergent Literacy include: concepts and functions of literacy, knowledge of lettersand words, listening comprehension, and word understanding, writing and composing. The Emergent literacyrepresents a major theoretical shift from conventional “reading readiness” models that view reading acquisitionfrom a skill-based or componential approach. Proponents of “reading readiness” views claim that childrenmust master prerequisites skills such as letter-naming, letter-sound matching tasks, rhyming tasks, letter-wordmatching tasks and so on before they can begin to learn to read a storybook. As Huey points out in 1908,“there is more to learning to read than alphabet identification (Huey, 1908 cited in Stallman & Pearson, 1995,p. 8).
  6. 6. The ChildrenTwenty-five signing deaf children were followed longitudinally over 14 months. They were enrolled in a stateschool in Alabama which followed the ASL/English bilingual language policy. The children were ages 4 to 10and were in the preK/K, 1, 2nd, 3rd, grade. All children had scored on the 1.5 reading grade level or below ofthe STARR reading diagnostic test. The majority had transferred in from public preschools, Head Start orEarly Intervention programs that used speech or Total Communication. The deaf children in our study wereolder than most hearing emergent readers because of their language delays (Reid, 1991). About 65% of thedeaf children had 2 or less years of ASL exposure at the school. Similar to many deaf children, they werelearning to sign, to speak, to read, to write and to fingerspell at the same time. Of our 25 children, 9 wereCaucasian, 16 African-American, Hispanic or biracial. Sixteen were profoundly deaf, 7 severely deaf and 3had moderate hearing losses. Fifteen were female and 10 were males. Twenty had hearing parents. Fifteen hada non-verbal IQ of 90 or above and 8 had an IQ of 89 or below. Five wore cochlear implants and 16 worehearing aids.AssessmentsWe used a combination of static and dynamic early reading concept assessments (Morrow & Smith, 1990). Weadministered the Test of Early Reading Abilities for Deaf and Hard of Hearing children (TERA-DHH) inAugust and again in May (Reid and al., 1991). We also administered 7 observational prereading tasks:1) fingerspelling/spelling/printing 2) naming of upper case letters 3) naming of lower case letters 4) bookreading 5) book reciting 6) sight words 7) two phonological awareness tasks. Writing samples were alsocollected on a monthly basis.Parent ComponentThe parent component was made up of a parent interview by phone or videophone on these three aspects:home communication, child interest in literacy, including digital literacy, and parent support for literacy in thehome. We collected parent interviews four times: August, 2011, January and May, 2012 and again in Augustof 2012.Research Questions and DesignThe study addressed the following research questions: 1) How did the adapted “Little Books” interventionincrease emergent literacy concepts of deaf readers over a full year? 2) How do parents support their child’slearning of emergent literacy in the home? 3) How did drawing and writing support the children’s emergentreading? A longitudinal, pre-experimental, one group pre/post test design was used. Children were alsovideotaped six times over the school year and growth curve regression analyses were calculated on their bookreading and book reciting tasks. Relationships between child background variables and pre/post test scoreswere also examined.  “Little Books” Intervention with Sign BilingualismEmergent literacy behaviors differ from conventional reading behaviors. For instance the emergent reader may“picture read” or “pretend reading” before they learn how to read the printed text. They may be able to identifya word in a picture context but not in a line of print. They may attend to the pictures to get meaning and onlylater as they receive more exposure to meaningful text comprehension will they will attend to the letters, letterpatterns, words, phrases and so on. Emergent readers will rely on theirbackground knowledge and prior experience in learning to read as well(Au, Mason and Scheu, 1995).The intervention was designed so that the five teachers could integratethe lessons into the regular language arts classroom instruction. Twiceweekly book reading sessions (n = 30 weeks) were carried out.The instructional materials were 20 Big Books and companion littlebooks. Each week one story was presented. First the story was presentedin American Sign Language (ASL) with expanded translations.
  7. 7. These stories were signed by native Deaf adults who were also parents of deaf children. The stories werefilmed at our university studio. The teachers were given copies of the DVDs and showed the stories to thestudents on the classroom Smartboard. In the study, three teachers are deaf and two are hearing. Following thesigning and the reading of the whole story on the DVD, the teacher who had her own copy of the Big Book,signed in the class using her own expanded ASL translations. Then the teacher went through the story line byline, fingerscanning the print, signing the words, fingerspelling the words and discussing the meanings of thewords within the context of the story. Each book contained only about 10 to 20 words in short simple Englishphrases that had a strong word-to-illustration connection. The words were high-frequency words. The themesof the books were preschool theme such a holidays, familiar routines like going to bed or getting ready forschool. During the session, the teacher engaged the children in group reading or each child would come upand individually read the Big Book to the class. In addition, children would read and sign in a group, andassist each other. The teacher then lead language extension activities such as fingerspelling, printing thewords, acting out, and labeling drawings. The DVD and “Little Books” were also sent home so children couldread to their parents.Preliminary FindingsOur preliminary findings are presented across the three areas: 1) classroom book reading and book reciting2) home support and 3) writing samples. Test scores of the TERA-DHH showed that the older children did notalways have higher scores than the younger children. One preschooler performed higher than one-third grader.Related to the fingerspelling/spelling/printing tasks, on the whole, as children grew older, there were increasesseen. Most could name the 26 letters of the alphabet. Most knew both upper and lower case letters by age five.As children grew older, storybook reading increased, as did story reciting, as did sign word recognition.However, it was noted that story reciting scores were low for all ages. Using regression growth slope analyses,we found that looking at all 25 children, they progressed on the average 6.08 percent increase each month onthe book reading tasks and 4.09 percent increase each month on the book reciting. On the whole, ourpreliminary data show that children progressed conservatively on book reading and book reciting despite fewyears of ASL immersion. The older children (3rd graders), while they have a developed vocabulary (based onpretest) but they still need practice in story reciting (comprehension). The younger children need practice inboth vocabulary and comprehension, and all the children needed practice with reciting whole stories.From our 6 months of parent interviews (n = 17) we found that more than 60 percent of the parents commentedthey were learning sign language from their deaf child. Most had not taken a sign language class because theywere too busy working and taking care of other children. Only five of the families commented they used ASLin the home (all were deaf families). Other families commented they used a combination of speech, signs, andgestures. Our parent qualitative data show that even though parents did not share a common language withtheir deaf child, they still supported the child in reading and writing and drawing in the home through multipleliteracy activities at home such as reading environmental print, reading recipes, making shopping lists, writingnotes for communication, drawing and labeling pictures, texting, interpreting TV shows, and playing videogames on devices and computers. Many families reported their child used the computer, a texting device,played games on the computer and liked to surf the web.We collected two to three writing samples per child for the first six months. Children were found to progressfrom scribbles to more letter-like forms in their writing and labeling of pictures. The drawings of the picturesafter reading the “Little Books” assisted the deaf children in expressing how they were comprehending thestories.Future WorkWe plan to continue Early Literacy Intervention to May and also post-test in May. At our study’s end, we hopeto test the adapted “Little Book” intervention as well as to sketch a developmental picture of how deaf childrenlearn early reading concepts such as left to right, sign to print matches, letter knowledge, fingerspelling,spelling short words, word recognition in context and in isolation, drawing and writing as well as book readingand book reciting. Over the summer, we will send home one more DVD with 10 stories and 10 companion
  8. 8. “Little Books”. We will ask the parents to read and sign with their child over the summer. In the fall of 2012we will conduct parent interviews and post tests to see if the “Little Books” intervention with signbilingualisms had sustaining effects.References Au, K., Mason, J. & Scheu, J. (1995). Literacy Instruction for Today. Chapter 2: Emergent Literacyand Beginning Instruction (pp. 35-68). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon. Andrews, J. & Dionne, V. (2011). “Down the Language Rabbit Hole with Alice.” A Case Study of aDeaf Girl with a Cochlear Implant. International Journal of Otolaryngology, Vol. 2011, Andrews, J. and Mason, J. (1986). Childhood deafness and the acquisition of early print concepts, InMetalinguistic awareness and beginning literacy: Conceptualizing what it means to read and write: D. Yaden,Jr. and W. Templeton (Eds.) Heinemann (Eds.) Heinemann Education Books, Exeter, New Hampshire:Heinemann Andrews, J. F. and Mason, J. M. (1986) How do Deaf Children Learn about Prereading?American Annals of the Deaf, 131, 210-217. Mason, J. (1990). Reading Stories to Preliterate Children: A Proposed Connection to Reading.Technical Report No. 510, Center for the Study of Reading, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. Carden, K. (2008). Language and Emergent Literacy In Preschoolers with Early CochlearImplantation. Unpublished masters thesis, University of Florida. McCormick, C. & Mason, C. (1990). Little Books. Glenview, IL: Scotts, Foresman. McCormick, C. & Mason, J. (1986). Intervention procedures for increasing preschool children’sinterest in and knowledge about reading. (90-115). In W. Teale & E. Sulzby (Eds.). Emergent literacy:Writing and Reading. Norwood, NJ: Ablex. Mason, J. & Allen, J. (1986). A review of emergent literacy with implications for research and practicein reading. In E.Z. Rothkopf (Ed.). Review of research in education (pp. 3-47). Washington, D.C.: AmericanEducational Research Association. Philips, L., Norris, S. and Mason, J. (1996). Longitudinal effects of early literacy concepts on readingachievement: A kindergarten intervention and five-year follow up. Journal of Literacy Research, 28 (1), 173-195. Reid, K., Hresko, W., Hammil, D. and Wiltshire, S. (1991). Test of Early Reading Ability—Deaf orHard of Hearing. Austin, TX: Pro-Ed. Stallman, A. & Pearson, P.D. (1995). Formal Measures of Early Literacy. Pp. 7-44. In L. Morrow andJ. Smith (Eds.). Assessment for Instruction in Early Literacy. Englewood Cliffs, N.J. Winston, E. (Ed.). Storytelling & Conversation Discourse in Deaf Communities. Washington, D.C.:Gallaudet University Press. Williams, C. (2004). Emergent Literacy of Deaf Children. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education,9 (4), 352-365. Yaden, D., Rowe, D., MacGillivray, L. (2000). Emergent Literacy: A Matter (Polyphony) ofPerspectives (pp. 425-454). In Handbook of Reading Research: Volume III. M. Kamil, P. Mosenthal,P. Pearson & R. Barr (Eds). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. For more information contact  Jean F. Andrews, Mary Ann Gentry, Kristen Jackson,   Zanthia Smith and Andrew Byrne   Dept of Deaf Studies/Deaf Education, Lamar University   will present:   “Adapted “Little Books”:   An Emergent Literacy Intervention for Signing Deaf Children”  at our SIG at the IRA’s 58th Annual Convention, May 7, 2013 
  9. 9. Sharon Pajka,  Incoming Chairperson of Our SIG I am a huge advocate for professional organizations. Professional organizations speak for educators and ourstudents at the federal, state and local levels. It allows us to meet and learn from professionals. Whether it bethrough journals, newsletters, listservs, conferences, continuing education courses, the opportunity and need toshare and learn with others is so important for our own education. Aside from that, being able to associate withindividuals who do what we do, understand our joys and frustrations, and who have weathered similar stormsis an important part of renewing and refreshing ourselves and our careers. There are some dishearteningstatistics about teacher burn out. I have been asked numerous times by peers if I am worried about burning out.I like to think that professional organizations give me the opportunity to be a Phoenix- the legendary birdrising from the midst of flames and ashes fully reborn. I recall a few years back when I was having a difficulttime both professionally and personally. I attended just one day of the International Reading Associationconvention and I felt free. I brushed ash off my wings and started to soar. That was the very same year (2008)when I met Myron Uhlberg, a past IRA Deaf and Hard of Hearing SIG presenter. During his presentation, Ilaughed, got teary-eyed, and felt nostalgic as I watched the then 75-year-old CODA discuss his life and thelegacy of his parents. It was an absolute honor to attend his presentation and to meet with him afterwards. Infact, meeting Myron changed my life! In 2009, Michele invited me to be the presenter of the SIG. I presentedon my research on the portrayals and perceptions of deaf characters in adolescent literature. Since 2007 when Ibegan publishing a Blog and a quarterly newsletter on deaf characters in contemporary adolescent literature, Ihave collected over 200 books with deaf characters and have interviewed about forty authors. I try my best tostay abreast of the books with deaf characters as well as the other popular adolescent reads. No matter howmany great books I have read, my students always prefer to select their own books for independent reading.They like recommendations but ultimately the choice is theirs. Like many of you, I learned about NancieAtwells ideas for teaching reading in graduate school. Whether you are reading her book In the Middle or TheReading Zone, Atwells ideas are pretty simplistic--- JUST READ! Try not to worry so much about havingyour students predict, connect, visualize, question, summarize, or re-tell during their reading time. Just simplygive them time to read, the tools to select the best books for themselves, and the right to make choices. Alongwith teaching first year college students, I enjoy teaching Adolescent Literature, Introduction to LiteratureStudies, Theories of Composition & Language Acquisition, and even Vampires: Their Historical Significancein Literature, Film, and Pop Culture which made the Washington Posts list "The 15 Oddest College Courses inthe D.C. Region". I am very much looking forward to meeting all of the SIG members and helping to keep usall informed of all the exciting things going on in our fields. Hope to see you at the convention! ~Sharon Pajka  Sharon Pajka holds a Ph.D. in English Education from the University of Virginia and an MA in Deaf Education: Secondaryfrom Gallaudet University. She is currently an Associate Professor of English at Gallaudet University. For more information contact 
  10. 10. A Fond Farewell from Michele Gennaoui, Outgoing SIG Chairperson It is with great honor that I step down from the chair of this Special Interest Group for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Readers. It has been a privilege to serve as chairperson. This position has given me both hope and pride in our distinguished profession, a field that I have been a part of for 32 years. First and foremost I would like to thank my colleague and friend Candice Chaleff. We discovered IRA’s SIG for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Readers as we attended our very first IRA convention. The following year we presented a symposium, and our colleagues presented at the SIG. As we sat together with pride, there was a call for new officers. Candice eagerly suggested that we volunteer, and the next phase of our professional partnership began. Candice was the chairperson and I was the secretary of the SIG until 2002 when she stepped down and offered the chair to me. Fortunately Jennifer Storey, a gifted and very organized teacher, agreed to be SIG secretary and together we have been facilitating wonderful professional presentations ever since. Jennifer continued her service as she moved from Brooklyn to California and finally to Oregon. I owe her a great debt of gratitude as she facilitated our contact list and helped with dreaded paperwork. I would also like to thank the administration of my school, St. Francis de Sales School for the Deaf in Brooklyn, NY; both former director Ed McCormack, and current director Maria Bartolillo. Their continued dedication to professional development and their sus- tained financial support for my attendance has allowed me to take on this responsibility. It has been a pleasure to work with each and every SIG presenter. They have shared their passions, their research and their knowledge with SIG attendees and members, bringing the education of deaf students to the forefront of general education. I have brought their work back to my colleagues at St. Francis and we are a better school for it. Attending IRA annual conventions has given me the opportunity to travel and visit so many cities in the United States and Canada. But the highlight of my travel has been the opportunity to visit many schools for the deaf across the country. Each school graciously opened its doors to me and allowed me to see their curriculum, meet their faculty, and observe in classes. Meeting teachers and other professionals in the field of deafness has been worth so much more than I could ever express. Despite the often stark differences in regions, philosophies, and practice we may have, I have found that we are more alike than different. We all face similar challenges in our field and continue to try, to learn, and to work at enhancing our teaching practices, we are ever hopeful that ultimately we will improve the reading achievement of deaf students. I have made some life-long friends during this professional journey. Making professional alliances and friendships has been an excellent perk of the job. I have met my reading idols, children’s authors, esteemed professors, and researchers, school administrators, and teachers in the trenches. It has made me a better educator and a better representative of our field. I wish Sharon Pajka, the new chairperson of our SIG all the best in her tenure, and I will support her, our SIG, and IRA for many years to come. ~Michele GennaouiPhoto collage key on bottom of next page.
  11. 11. ADDITIONAL SESSIONS AT THIS CONVENTION Tuesday, May 1, 3:00pm - 4:00pm Hyatt Regency McCormick Place Regency Ballroom E Translation, Guided Reading, and Deaf Students: The Good and Sometimes the Bad Marlon Kuntze and Jessica Scott Wednesday, May 2, 3:00pm - 4:30pm McCormick Place West W184D Research Poster Session: Effectiveness of the Guided Reading Approach with Struggling Readers: Longitudinal Study with Students Who Are Deaf Barbara Schirmer and Laura Schaffer OF INTEREST The archives of our SIG newsletters are available online at Click on the IRA link to view the previous newsletters. Become a SIG member - It’s free!IRA has been supportive of deaf education issues. Become a member of the SIG to keep issues of deaf andhard of hearing literacy in the forefront of IRA. The current number of members allows IRA to provide theSIG a meeting of an hour and 15 minutes at the annual convention. Increased membership will increase ourmeeting time. Please become a member and encourage membership among your colleagues. You must be acurrent member of the IRA ( in order to be a member of the SIG. Submit your IRA membershipnumber on our membership form or contact the SIG chair or secretary, e-mail addresses are on the cover page. IRA provides Sign Language InterpretersIt is the policy of IRA to provide sign language interpreters if deaf convention attendees make this request ontheir registration forms. All sessions can be accessible to deaf and hard of hearing participants. Save The Dates! May 5 – 8, 2013 IRA’s 58th Annual Convention The Special Interest Group for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Readers will present on Tuesday afternoon May 7, 2013 Adapted “Little Books”: An Emergent Literacy Intervention for Signing Deaf Children Jean F. Andrews, Mary Ann Gentry, Kristen Jackson, Zanthia Smith and Andrew Byrne Dept of Deaf Studies/Deaf Education, Lamar University Photo Collage key - counter clockwise starting from top left1. 2005 SIG- Myron Uhlberg, author, and Michele Gennaoui 9. 2012 SIG-Michael Clegg, Tina K. Caloud, Sandy G. Huston,2. Interpreters at opening session Atlanta Area School for the Deaf3. 2006 SIG- Johnette Scogin, Texas School for the Deaf 10. 2004 SIG- Cheri Williams, University of Cincinnati4. 2010 SIG- Barbara Strassman, The College of New Jersey 11. 2004 SIG- Barbara Schimer, Defiance College5. 2009 SIG -Sharon Pajka, Gallaudet University (r.) with Myron Uhlberg (l.) 12. & 13. 2003 SIG-Mardi Loeterman, Cornerstones WGBH6. SIG 2008- Myron Uhlberg, The Printer (book cover) 14. Patricia Polaocco, childrens author7. 2007 SIG-(l-r) Gloria Llewellyn, Lisa Bonacia, Kathleen Kerzner, Jill Lutzker, 15. 2011 SIG -(l-r) Adina Schnall, Liz Wenzel, Michele Gennaoui, Maureen Guarnieri and Sylvia Sugarman, Mill Neck School for the Deaf St. Francis de Sales School for the Deaf & Roger Essley,8. 2006- Michele Gennaoui, Dr. Ken Goodman, Dr. Yetta Goodman, author & educational researcher Jennifer Storey (SIG secretary)