Shared Reading Project

Welcome to the Shared Reading Project!
SRP Logo

The Shared Reading Project (SRP) was developed by the Clerc Center to provide tutoring and support to parents and caregivers who do not know how to effectively share books with their young deaf and hard of hearing child. When parents effectively share books, there is greater likelihood of an improvement in the reading ability of their deaf and hard of hearing child and it contributes to higher reading ability in school.

How the Shared Reading Project Works

The Shared Reading Project is designed to teach parents and other caregivers how to read to their children who are deaf using American Sign Language and how to use strategies to make book sharing most effective. See: The 15 Principles for Reading to Deaf Children.

Culturally diverse Deaf readers were filmed as they used American Sign Language to read fun, predictable children's books. Deaf tutors visit the home to demonstrate how to sign the stories, and provide instant feedback to family members. The family uses the DVDs of deaf readers signing the story to reinforce the new signs after the tutor has left. Because children love seeing these books read over and over again, the parents have repeated opportunities to practice. Steps in the SRP tutoring process

  1. Once a week, a deaf tutor visits each home. The visits are scheduled at a time convenient for each family, with most taking place evenings or weekends. The tutor demonstrates how to sign a popular children's storybook.
  2. Family members practice signing the story. The tutor gives needed feedback to family members.
  3. The family members read the story to the deaf child. The tutor watches and gives helpful hints.
  4. The tutor leaves a "family book bag" with the family for a week. The bag contains a copy of the book, a DVD for practice, a bookmark with tips for reading to deaf children, and a guide containing activities to do with the child after reading the story.
  5. During the week, family members read the story to the child again and again. If family members forget some signs, they can look at the DVD, which has a deaf signer reading the story, to reinforce what the tutor previously taught.
  6. Family members make note of the number of times they read the story. They also jot down questions for the next tutoring session. The following week the tutor brings a new book, and the process begins again.

If you are interested in setting up a Shared Reading Project at your school, please e-mail training.clerccenter@gallaudet.edu for more information. The Clerc Center can assist you in setting up a Shared Reading Project at your own school or program and provide you with the materials to get you started. An on-line training for new site coordinators is in development.

Parent and Caregiver Comments 

"Our daughter really benefited from the program. In fact, our whole family did. Our tutor did a wonderful job."

"Our tutor really helped us out with the story. I don't feel awkward at all signing in front of the tutor. I am usually shy because my signing is slow and not very advanced. My husband also feels at ease."

"My daughter has made a lot of progress through the program. She is more interested in what the words say--not just the pictures. The tutor has helped me expand on the story as well."

"Our son really enjoyed the "School Bus Book." It was also great for our 5 year old because he is learning to read and was able to practice his reading and signing skills. We all enjoyed watching the boys share this book."

Additional Resources

The 15 Principles for Reading to Deaf Children

Odyssey: Shared Reading (PDF  full issue)
This issue is dedicated to the concept of sharing books with Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children

Sharing Results: Shared Reading Project: Evaluating Implementation Processes and Family Outcomes (PDF)

Articles from around the U.S.:

Shared Reading Project brings stories to life, by Alison and Troy Talbert, Hands & Voice Communicator, Volume VII, Issue 3 (Winter 2003/2004) 

Connecting by reading: Deaf children, hearing parents create bonds by Judd Slivka, special for The Arizona Republic (August 10, 2005)

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