The British Association of Teachers of the Deaf
Promoting Excellence in Deaf Education

Parents sharing books with young deaf children in spoken English and in BSL: The common and diverse features of different language settings

Authors Swanwick, R. and Watson, L.
Journal Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education

Year 2007


Twelve parents of young deaf children were recorded sharing books with their deaf child - 6 from families using British Sign Language (BSL) and 6 from families using spoken English. Whilst all families were engaged in sharing books with their deaf child and concerned to promote literacy development, they approached the task differently and had different expectations in terms of outcome. The sign bilingual families concentrated on using the book to promote BSL development, engaging in discussion around the book but without referring to the text whilst the spoken language families were focused on features of the text and less inclined to use the book to promote wider knowledge. Implications for early intervention and support are drawn from the data.