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Tracie Snow, Administrator of Instructional Services at FSDB, presents Top Ten ASL/English Bilingual Strategies.

Bilingual Education not only supports the acquisition and development of American Sign Language (ASL) and English for students who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing, but also enables students to have academic content taught in an accessible language. Certified teachers of the deaf and hard of hearing at the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, through a curriculum team, identified and tried several bilingual strategies for instruction in classrooms K-12 in 2016-2017. The goal of this curriculum team was to read current research and identify best practices for implementing bilingual strategies in their classrooms. We look forward to sharing our lessons learned, strategies, and reflections with professionals who work in the field of deaf education. Participants will be introduced to nine ASL/English Bilingual strategies as well as video content through FSDB’s Pineapple PD to support their understanding and continued learning.

What is ASL/English Bilingual Education at The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind? click here

Strategy 1: Sandwich and/or Chaining


Use in read alouds to clarify concepts, introduction of new vocabulary words, introduction to new concepts.

Strategy 2: PVR- Preview, View, Review


Summary of the story in ASL, story translated from English to ASL, review story in ASL

Strategy 3: Playing with Language

ASL Beats/Rhythms

Beats/Rhythms makes learning fun while learning language structure, acquiring language, and language development

Strategy 4: Literacy in the Content Area

•Integrate technology and provide hands on activities in ASL and printed English to ensure both languages are available to students in the content areas.

Strategy 5: Meaningful Language


Students can discover the ASL vocabulary for objects around the room using iPads applications like Aurasma/HP Reveal.

Strategy 6: Preferred Language First

Preferred Language First

•Students use their preferred language to learn new concepts and/or show what they know.

Strategy 7: Signed Reading Fluency

Signed Reading Fluency Rubric

Goal: for students to read with accuracy, fluency, and visual grammar.

•Accuracy – sign English print in ASL to provide equivalent conceptual meaning.

•Fluency – visual appearance

•Visual Grammar – continuum of signing in English word order to ASL.

Strategy 8: Repeated Reading

Repeated Reading

•Supports and improves reading fluency

•Students read independently on their instructional reading level

•Students are video recorded while reading

•Identify and focus on certain areas to improve

Strategy 9: Purposeful Code Switching


•Model codeswitching by presenting English text, signing in English word order, then signing ASL. 

•Students build flexibility to shift from one language to the other

Strategy 10: Classifiers for Academic Instruction

Classifiers for Academic Information

•Using classifiers to visually explain and present content

•Keep English text and graphic representation visible while you sign

•Improves retention of information

•Requires preparation and practice!

BONUS: Using Pictures First


•Before introducing new words or complex concepts, show the students pictures and build their understanding through signing first.

•Activate prior knowledge.

•Once the students have an understanding and foundation, introduce the printed English.

•Increase retention.

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