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Tag Archives: ASL

Put the Power of ASL in Every Child’s Hands

Put the Power of ASL in Every Child’s Hands


Hands Land Dvd

Hands Land Dvd


In our last blog post, we showed examples of different ways that nursery rhymes can be rendered in sign language using ASL rhyming patterns. For me, that brought back a lot of memories of when my kids Tara, Leala, Cary, and Troy were small.  We would often make up ASL rhythmic patterns for every daily activities like meal time, bath time, and bed time.  It was a way to turn mundane daily routines into something more enjoyable. I had a lot of fun participating in language play with them, especially when they were very young.  Watching those tiny hands forming rhythmic patterns is something I will never forget.

I am delighted that Tara and Chad are continuing this tradition of language play in ASL with their own children, Pax, Thoreau, and Clementine.   They adore Aunt Leala for her creativity in creating ASL rhymes and using them at home.

Leala Holcomb in Hands Land DVD

Leala Holcomb in Hands Land DVD

Now I am thrilled that my daughter Leala has decided to start a new venture called Hands Land, with the goal of encouraging more families play with their children through ASL in their own homes.  With the creation of new materials to support young children’s language development through ASL’s intrinsic rhyming and rhythm patterns (unrelated to English), it is hoped that more of these toddlers, especially the deaf ones, will be able to grow and thrive in a language-rich environment.

Watch this YouTube:

Check out this Facebook page: Hands Land: ASL Rhymes and Rhythms for Young Children

Hands Land Facebook

Hands Land Facebook

If you would like to support this venture, please go to this website to make your donation.

Nursery Rhymes in ASL? As Easy as 1,2,3!

Nursery Rhymes in ASL? As Easy as 1,2,3!


How can rhyming be portrayed in ASL? Is there rhythm in ASL? How do rhyming and rhythm support deaf children’s language development? There is a growing movement to promote language development among young children through ASL rhymes and rhythm. The following presenters supply information and demonstrations of different ways that rhyming and rhythm can be used to engage young children.


Barbara Wingfield and a Thanksgiving ASL Rhyme

Barbara Wingfield creates a Thanksgiving ASL Rhyme

In her blog Deaf Progressivism, Barbara Wingfield discusses the importance of making nursery rhymes accessible to deaf children through ASL and provides several examples. She says:

“It is crucial to engage young Deaf signers in ASL songs that they are able to re-chant and internalize the language and make their own. Historically, Deaf children who don’t have enough opportunity to “play with language and developing ASL phonemic awareness” tend to struggle more in academic performances. The use of drum usually engages them to follow the beats with repetition more effectively.

I’ve witnessed how Deaf children have taken with delight in the visual images and strong rhythmic character of ASL own version of nursery rhymes. Visual imagery and the rhythms indeed have a powerful effect on cognition.”

Austin Andrews demonstrates how to adapt Hey Diddle ASL

Austin Andrews demonstrates how to adapt Hey Diddle Diddle…to ASL in Youtube below


Austin Andrews (CODA and popular presenter also known as Awti and the Deaf Ninja Storyteller) provides a concrete example of how to adapt a nursery rhyme for ASL, utilizing the rhythmic beat of Gallaudet University’s famous “Bison Song.”


Leala Holcomb--Hop on Pop


Leala Holcomb presents one of the Dr. Seuss’ classics, Hop on Pop, using ASL rhyming techniques to match the whimsical message of Dr. Seuss.

We look forward to seeing more and more of this kind of work in ASL for several reasons. One is the pure entertainment value of watching performers make nursery rhymes come to alive in ASL. In addition, we are excited about the prospect of deaf children having increased access to nursery rhymes through ASL.

What are your thoughts?

Announcing New Resources for Instructors – sample curriculum and PowerPoint

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Tom and Anna:

We want to make it easy for instructors to use our materials and have just added a new feature to Deaf Culture THAT: a RESOURCE page where we will be adding items to give you ideas and support in making the most of our books and  DVDs.

To start, Tom has contributed a Sample Curriculum for an entire semester of a Deaf Culture class, utilizing his textbook, Introduction to American Deaf Culture and our Workbook and DVD set, A SIGN OF RESPECT.  He outlines 15 weeks of reading and homework assignments for a complete Deaf Culture class.

Anna is offering a Power Point Presentation entitled, CULTURAL SENSITIVITY FOR ASL STUDENTS that she presented at a national ASLTA Conference. It suggests exercises from her READING BETWEEN THE SIGNS WORKBOOK  and our DVD, SEE WHAT I MEAN.

We plan to add more resources soon and would welcome your suggestions. If you have used any of our materials in a successful class experience, please let us know and we may feature your ideas.

Please check out our new RESOURCES FOR INSTRUCTORS page.