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Sign Language Advocates Create Visual Book For Deaf & Hearing Students

VIDEO: Sign language advocates create visual book for Deaf and Hearing students.

The Boy Who Cried Wolf, The Princess and the Pea and Rapunzel are classic children’s stories that have been adapted, retold and redrawn in classrooms and homes over and over again.

But Dublin resident Laurie Meyer has found a new way to tell those stories: through American Sign Language. She believes the books her company, ASL Tales, is creating can revolutionize the way all children, Deaf and Hearing, learn about and access language.

“We don’t want to be targeted as a book for kids with disabilities,” said Meyer, co-founder of ASL Tales. Instead, her team is thinking, “How can we change the world if everybody had access to this language?”

ASL Tales published its first book in 2008, and its latest project, The Boy Who Cried Wolf, will be released next month. Each book comes with a DVD on which a professional retells the story in sign language, going page by page alongside the illustrations. The DVDs also offer clues that help viewers break down what the signs mean and how they fit together.

Meyer and ASL Tales’s co-founder Pinky Aiello have worked with people from across the country to create the books, but The Boy Who Cried Wolf was made almost exclusively by New Hampshire residents. Concord residents H. Dee and Connie Clanton did the sign language and illustrations for the book, respectively, and other contributors come from Bedford, Dover, Manchester and elsewhere. Parents, teachers and others who want to purchase the books can find more information online at

The goal of ASL Tales is to help children learn language in a visually rich way, and they are not meant exclusively for people who want to become fluent in sign language.

“You don’t have to be curious about American Sign Language to have these books be helpful, that’s the part that people have the hardest time understanding,” Meyer said.

Visual learning can improve the way hearing students learn language, and it allows students with disabilities or language problems to understand stories and words in a different way, Meyer said. The books have also been translated into several other languages, including Arabic, French and Portuguese.

“One of the things that I’ve said for a long time is that ASL, I think, could be a universal precaution against language delay,” Meyer said.

Although the company has been producing books for nearly five years, its been difficult to get the books into classrooms, Meyer said. Many librarians will put them into the section for students with disabilities, but the books are meant for all children, she said.

Another goal of ASL Tales is correcting misunderstandings about what American Sign Language is, she said. Sign language is not simply stringing together a series of signs for different words. Like any language, there is a specific way to put signs together to construct sentences and communicate messages. ...READ MORE:

ASL Tales The Princess and the Pea.

Alisha says, "Hi, I'm Alisha Bronk and I want to tell you about an exciting new book with an ASL DVD.

The ASL storytelling, done by Pinky Aiello, will delight Deaf people, Children of Deaf Adults (CODAs), grandparents, students, interpreters, and anyone interested in learning sign language. Please check It's worth your time!
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