Forsyth County Public Library delivers a unique monthly story time in ASL and English for deaf, hard of hearing, hearing children, CODAs, or child of deaf adults, and their families.
“A Show of Hands” story time at the Post Road Library was developed by FCPL in fall 2018 to meet a need in the Forsyth County community after learning their traditional story time format didn’t work for one resident’s 2-year-old deaf son.
Post Road Library Youth Specialists reached out to ASL and deaf community experts in the area to research and develop the recurring story time for maximum effectiveness and accessibility. They then partnered with Tracey Varrone, owner of Brick and Ivy Studio and former elementary school teacher with a background in ASL, and Amanda Tate, professional ASL interpreter for Forsyth County Schools to create and facilitate the program each month.
As opposed to a traditional Post Road Library story time which typically includes three to four books, action songs, and a puppet show, the “A Show of Hands” story time uses only two to three books, but each one is read multiple times in a row.
Tracey typically begins each book with a “picture walk” which is a visual preview to spark interest and connection. During the picture walk, Tracey introduces signs that will be used throughout the book, demonstrating them and encouraging the children to sign along with her.
“Picture walks are slow–that’s how we get ready to read,” Varrone said.
After the picture walk, Varrone and Tate read the book aloud twice in English and ASL simultaneously. This repetition is the key to building vocabulary and integrating new signs.