Supporting Vocabulary Through Reading Aloud

Back in September we published a blog on using American Sign Language (ASL) to develop letter knowledge, FUN with Names and Letters.  Though ASL is not only a great strategy for teaching letters and sounds it is also a fantastic way to teach vocabulary.   By highlighting words in stories to teach concepts like action words, opposites, and content vocabulary around math, science, and social studies you can enhance a child’s vocabulary.  We suggest intentionally choosing the words you will teach based on the story you read.  This allows you and your children to explore the meaning deeper and create a more in depth understanding of the word.

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Here are 10 ways to integrating ASL into your Read Aloud sessions:

1. Take a picture walk to introduce the book and the vocabulary you will work on during the week, remember to teach the highlighted ASL words during this time

2. Choose 3-5 words from the book to focus on during the week, can you integrate ASL?  If so, teach the children the words in ASL

3. Read story several times during the week, recommended at least once daily.  Choose an interesting and enjoyable book.  Also think about cultural diversity and using ASL to enhance the vocabulary and bring the story alive.  

4. Teach core vocabulary from the book in small group in direct instruction, remember to integrate ASL.

5. Expand the ideas into centers, are the children using ASL as they work with the words and letters?  Can you create ways to encourage them to do so?  

6. Increase engagement by bringing in ASL to support vocabulary & listening by having children sign the core vocabulary words.  This can be done in small groups, whole groups, or independently.   

7. Use retelling activities to expand use of vocabulary.

8. Develop a community of practice with colleagues to plan and reflect on weekly read aloud sessions.  Use video to support reflective process.  This is a great way to see how you read the story and how engage the students are.  What areas are working and what areas do you need to adjust?

9. Plan your daily readings through the week. For instance, 1st day, picture walk & introduce core vocabulary. Day 2, read for enjoyment. Day 3, read book again, ask questions around core vocabulary. Day 4 & 5, read book again, have children help you read sections, I.e. The Title or repetitive phrases in the book.  Remember, add ASL into the story to increase engagement and understanding.  

10. Review core vocabulary words at the end of each reading. Use vocabulary cards with images and ASL.

Above all enjoy the process!  Reading is not only a life skill that is necessary for success, but it should also be enjoyable. Model that enjoyment and you will easily engage your children in the reading process.  

Are you looking for even more activities and resources to integrate ASL into your program? We have TONS for you!! Check out our teacher resource sites, which are filled with wonderful ASL resources to use in your program.  Visit us on Teachers Pay Teachers, Syllabuy or Teacher’s Notebook.  Also, come join the fun and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.  

We love sharing the gift of ASL with others.

Happy Signing II