Enabling deaf children access to literature and reading, Canales has created “Videobooks in Argentine Sign Language.” These videos combine children’s books and young adult literature read in sign language, with voiceovers and animated illustrations. This invites deaf children into the world of reading together with their families and friends. Many of these children never enjoy the pleasure of being read to as their families don’t know sign language. Videobooks also helps bridge the gap in literacy skills between deaf and hearing students.
In this way, the readers become linguistic models, families share stories with deaf children, teachers find tools they can use for education and society can become more inclusive as a whole. The product is a model of bilingual quality education: sign language ensures that hearing-impaired children naturally participate and understand, and Spanish as a second language enables the sharing of culture and information with the society at large.
To standardize the development of Videobooks, Canales has created a manual describing each step of the process. Containing all technical specifications, it also contains notes on the reading of the text. Sign languages and spoken languages have different grammatic structures and the company endeavors to respect the integrity of both languages.
The product allows the possibility to read in sign language, the virtual structures enables remote access, readers are navigated with an attractive and clear design and deaf people are also involved in the creation of the product. Since its launch in August 2011, the site has had 130,000 unique visitors and more than one million clicks; over 2,600 students have benefited through direct download.
Over 90% of deaf children have adults around them that can hear and cannot sign. This causes communication problems with subsequent difficulties in language and cognitive development. Limited teaching materials and training affect the possibility for deaf children to integrate with the hearing society and reach their full potential.
The difficulties that deaf people have in accessing the written language are primarily due to the restricted access to a language at an early age. This solution works to bridge this gap by improving the education of deaf children in Argentina, and one of the ways of doing this is by providing access to literature. Most hearing-impaired children do not have someone who reads them a story when they are young, and are often excluded from stories and literature that most children access. This lack of access hinders both their academic development and their integration in society.
Most teachers of the deaf are not fluent signers and the children are then forced to lip-read, although lip-reading is a very limited tool to access information and reading. The most vulnerable are those in rural areas where there are no schools for the deaf. This excluded population has the opportunity to access literature with the VB site. Stories read by deaf readers encourage communication within families and access to written language, which leads to an improvement in their education.
Publicly available: Yes
Countries where available: Worldwide
Price range: Free