In an attempt to teach my deaf child how to speak, I had to change our entire
daily routine into a speech and language laboratory. In addition to speech therapy, I was
interested in how to build language. To work on properly pronouncing single words would
not have any basis if the word, its meaning and its context is not understood because of a
severely delayed language. Language acquisition in hearing babies, toddlers and young
children comes "naturally" without the need of "teaching". Naturally,
when bound into a situation in which the babbling child is encouraged to babble, the
toddler encouraged to speak and mispronounced words are corrected in a way the child can
accept it. But what happens, when the child does not babble, does not speak by himself at
all? Language has to be taught.
Having learned English as a second language myself when I
was an adult, I felt that my school aged deaf child could benefit from a structured
program to learn English similar to a program used for children and adults who learn
English as a second language. The hearing impaired child, however will need more
repetition, motivation and reinforcement than a hearing, non-English speaking child.
Nevertheless, both the hearing impaired child with a significant language delay as well as
the non-English speaking child and the disadvantaged child could benefit from a similar
approach and similar teaching aids for learning English. For reasons of simplicity I used
the name "teacher" for the instructor who might be the mother or other family
members, a speech therapist or other volunteers (Daycare, baby-sitter, etc.). My focus was
on what we can do at home and in school to ensure the structured acquisition of language
for the hearing impaired child.
The non-English speaking child, the disadvantaged child
who may have an extremely limited experiential background and the hearing impaired child
who may be limited to the conversation targeted to him might have in common the cultural,
socio-economical and language barrier that allow them to participate and learn language
through their environment. It is extremely difficult to remember a word in either oral or
written form, if it has no meaning. When the child has acquired aural-oral familiarity
with the language, the words he hears and says have significance because of the
association he makes between the sounds and their meanings. If a child who is learning to
read English pronounces a word and it has meaning for him, it is because he associates it
with a word he recognizes by its sound.
One may hypothesize that he severe reading problems shown
by the hearing impaired child as well as the disadvantaged child may be due mainly to his
poorly developed vocabulary and lack of general knowledge, rather than to defect in the
various techniques that are currently being used to teach reading. When these children do
learn the mechanics of reading, their comprehension remains extremely poor because many of
the words they read do not have significance. Until the experiential level and associated
vocabulary of the hearing impaired as well as the disadvantaged child can be expanded,
teaching him to read is like teaching a foreign language by translation when the
vocabulary is not known in the native tongue.
In the following chapters, I have listed and described a
number of teaching aids. In a teaching situation I would always try to incorporate
multiple aids to prevent drill and boredom. Learning language should be always fun and
interesting. I would like to point out that learning a language will come easiest if the
language is learned through situations of daily life. Learning and teaching therefore
needs to be included in every day activities. The mother might do the dishes and while
washing she might talk as if she would talk to herself and would include the child
naturally while staying with her action: "Now I take the plate and, ...splash, it
goes into the water,.... uuh, wet. See- the plate is all wet. The counter is wet too. Did
you get wet?... Splash! The water splashed all over... Do you like to get a turn
splashing? Do you like to take another plate? Show me how it splashes ". This kind of
every day situation and routine uses the words water, wet and splash in different
contexts, an important feature to establish meaning. It also uses real language with
emphasis or stress on some words and facial expressions (Uuh! , splash!). The words and
action go together, the child will be able to follow along even if he doesn't understand
each word immediately. Staying close to the action will not put the focus on lip-reading
but rather at the action and on listening to the words that go along.
In a different situation, the teacher might play with the
child and pick up some of the child's interests: "nu choose? Ah, I see... You got new
shoes. OOhh, how pretty! Look, my shoes are old. They are not shiny anymore. Your shoes
are shiny. New and shiny. What a nice color. I think green (wrong guess) is your favorite
color....No? It's not? What color is your favorite? ... I see, pink. The same color as
your shoes...My favorite color is blue" The teacher can involve the child in a
conversation by using an item of the child's interest. It is important to create a need
for a conversation in order to make it interesting. Again the same words are used in
different contexts and with different attributes.
In the following chapters, I will describe different
teaching aids that might be useful in a distinct teaching situation, to be used in
addition to the every day learning through living.
Each chapter contains different teaching materials. The
basic teaching materials are listed in chapter 6. In the event that the recommended
teaching aids are not available, others of similar format may be used. When the teacher
understands the concept behind the various teaching materials he will have no difficulty
in finding or making substitutes when necessary.
1. The Object Box
The Object Box is the simplest and most basic vocabulary
teaching aid. It is an ordinary box, such as a shoe box which is large enough to contain a
number of simple familiar household and school objects.
Basic contents of an object box:
|Color Sample Booklet
||cup and saucer
||doll (small and flexible)
|sheet of paper
|money (nickel, dime, quarter, penny)
||string of beads
|envelope with stamp
|crayons (3 or 4 colors)
|needle and thread
|buttons (3 different sizes on a string)
|piece of string
Other simple objects may be added:
|screw driver and screws
|hammer and nails
|| flowers (artificial)
|baby doll in crib or carriage (miniature)
- The Object Box is the first teaching aid to introduce new
vocabulary. The teacher gives the child a statement to imitate "This is a fork".
It is important not to use the question "What is this?" to prevent frustration
of the child. A dialogue might be like this:
- Teacher: "This is a fork"
- Child: (no response)
- Teacher "This is a fork"
- Child: "fork"
- Teacher: "This is a fork"
The repeated sentence (the language frame) should remain
constant. The noun changes as each new object is selected from the Object Box. The child
is given the object to hold. Even if the child repeats the sentence correctly the first
time, the teacher repeats the sentence and has the child repeat 3 times after him. It is
important for the child to speak and hear himself speak. Eight objects should be enough
for one session.
- The hearing impaired child might have problems with word
boundaries. The sentence "This is a fork" might be understood as "Thizis
afoa" or "Sisis afort". By using the object in different contexts, the word
will be determined by its boundaries. Probably the most difficult part is to establish the
need for communication, integrate the meaning of a word and, most importantly, to make it
fun. A dialogue might be modified like this:
- Teacher: "This is a fork"
- Child: (no response)
- Teacher: "This is a fork. I can eat with my fork (simulate eating). I can make
music with my fork (simulates)".
- Child : (becomes interested)
- Teacher: (continues) "I can comb my hair with the fork (simulates)".
- Child: (giggles, shakes head)
- Teacher: "You don't think I can comb my hair with the fork? Yes, look I can comb my
hair with the fork."
- Child: "Me, fork."
- Teacher: "Do you want to have the fork?"
- Child: "Have, fork."
- Teacher: "Here you go (gives him the knife)?"
- Child: (shakes head) "No, fork"
- Teacher: "You are right, this is not a fork. This is a knife. Here, this is the
- Child: "This, fork"
- Teacher: "Here you go, take the fork". Child tries to comb the hair with the
One powerful aid to motivate is the use or incorporation
of the silly, funny or unexpected property of an item. Another way is to use the negative
form of the auxiliary verb. By hiding the fork, the teacher might ask "Where is the
fork? Do you have the fork? No, this is not a fork, this is a knife. No, this is not a
fork, this is a spoon, etc." while including various family members into a game with
a constant language frame. The need for communication can be established using sabotage
techniques : the child wants the fork, the teacher says, "here you go" but gives
him the knife; the child wants a pencil, the teacher gives him a broken pencil. The child
might be confronted with a different meaning: the child wants desert but says
"sedert". The reaction of the teacher might be to take the child outside and
show him some dirt, "See dirt, that's what you wanted?"
As the child advances the object box can be used in a
more imaginative way. If the child for example knows the word "crayon" the
teacher might ask "What color is the crayon" (language frame). If the child
understands the question and answers "red" the teacher might respond with
"What else is red?". The teacher might say "The dress is red" and the
routine can be pursued for several objects, keeping the language frame intact "The
notebook is red". The same system may be followed for the common uses of objects.
"What do you do with a pencil?" "I write with a pencil". "What do
you do with a pen?" " I write with a pen". When the child has a fair
knowledge of the objects the teacher might ask "What is this". The child may
response "pen". The teacher should put the word in the correct sentence
"This is a pen" and encourage the child to repeat this sentence about 3 times.
2. Picture Games
The picture games most suitable are those which show
pictures of single object with very little extra detail and which depict common articles.
"Object Lotto" is one of the basic games, has
clear, simple pictures and is used to teach children their first vocabulary. All the
pictures on one section card are concerned with one category or subject, such as food,
clothing, or schoolroom equipment. The game is played like "Bingo". At the start
the teacher picks up one of the small cards, shows it to the child and uses the language
frame "Who has the _____?", completing the sentence by adding the object
"Who has the cup?". The child if he knows the word might say "cup" The
teacher then should say the entire sentence "I have the cup" and look at the
child to indicate that he wants him to repeat it. "I have the ____." is the
second language frame used in this game. After the child has repeated the sentence, the
picture is given to him.
"The World about Us Lotto" can be used after
the "Object Lotto", it is played in the same way but the cards have more detail
and usually include the environment in which the object is set. A card showing a picture
of a school bus, for instance, shows. in addition, the driver, the street, and several
children waiting to board the bus. Although the game should be started with the question
"Who has the school bus?", the greater detail will stimulate the volunteer and
the child to freer conversation if the child is ready for the advance. Among the more
advanced games is "Go together Lotto." It is an associative game with unmatched
cards. The teacher draws a small card and starts describing it, for example, "I have
a loaf of bread." The child who may have the larger section card with a boy eating a
sandwich might claim the card. Having made this association, the child might start the
response with, "The loaf of bread goes with _______." and then add "the boy
eating a sandwich", "the hungry boy", "the boy having his lunch".
Having made the association the child has to construct a sentence using his vocabulary
from his own reserve. The teacher might lead him further into conversation by questions
which are fairly abstract, such as "What do you like to have for lunch?", or he
may ask the child to describe the sandwich.
Picture games might also be used as guessing games when
the child is fairly comfortable with the language. One child draws a card from a stack of
cards and starts to describe it. For example the child holding the card might say "It
is blue." "You wear it". "It keeps you warm" pausing after each
sentence to see whether the others can guess the item on his card.
3. Action Routines
Action routines are a welcome change during a teaching
session with the opportunity to walk, stretch and move around. One game children enjoy is
"Heads and shoulders, knees and toes". Another game is similar to "Simon
says" with the exemption that no child is 'out'. To start, the teacher places both
hands on his head saying "This is my head". The child follow the example and
repeat the sentence simultaneously. The teacher and the children repeat the process for
additional parts of the body. The teacher should clearly pronounce " This is
my neck" but "These are my eyes". If the children are fairly
familiar with the vocabulary, one of them may pretend to be the teacher and give the
instruction, or the teacher may use a doll as a substitute and teach the phrase "This
is her head". Another verbal-action routine is composed of a series of
instructions and directions which use common verbs. The child follows the directions given
by the teacher ("Walk to the door") and says the appropriate words at the same
time ("I am walking to the door"). Children may take turns giving instructions
and having the teacher doing the action. Only one tense of a word should be used in each
session. Opposites, such as "open" and "close", "up" and
"down" should not be taught at the same time to prevent confusion. Opposites can
be taught by reinforcement of the language frame, for example "open the door",
"open the purse", "open the book" and later teach the word
"close" in several situations.
- Stand up.
- Come here.
- Go to the door.
- Open the book (or door, etc.).
- Turn on the light.
- Go to the window.
- Clap your hands.
- Put the hands on your _____.
- Bend over.
- Sit down.
- Turn around.
- Make a cross.
- Underline the picture.
- Cross out.
- Give me the _____.
- Point to the ____.
- Take a step to the ______ (left).
- Write your name.
- Pick up the ______.
- Take the _______ to the _______.
- Put back the ________.
- Tear the paper.
- Push the _______.
- Break the stick.
- Cut the ________.
- Cover the ______ with the ________.
- Empty the cup.
- Ring the bell.
- Hang up the ____.
- Erase the blackboard.
- Count the _______ (any objects).
- Find the _____.
- Hold the _______ in your hand.
4. Instructional Pictures
One of the most important teaching aids for teaching a
language is the use of instructional pictures. The pictures should illustrate a specific
scene (a farm, a city street, a kitchen, or a store) and show numerous human and animal
figures pursuing activities related to the scene. The pictures have to be rich in detail,
cover a wide range of subjects, and have to be distinguished by an unusual amount of
action. A harbor scene, for example, shows boats of several sizes (a few with patched
sails), adults and children moving about on the wharf, some men repairing fishing nets, a
group of people packing boxes of fish, one person selling fish to another, a man climbing
a ladder to reach the buildings, seagulls eating fish scraps, etc. The teacher needs to
know how to see a picture which is a learning process similar to learning the art of
listening to music. The untrained eye will note the topic of the picture, the obvious
objects and actions but fail to see the details. For example "The farmer is hoeing
the field" is a sentence associated with a picture of a farm. The sentence "The
man is bending over" refers to the same person in the same picture but is dissociated
from the farm topic. Although both sentences should be taught, the sentence "The man
is bending over" should be taught first, since it is more likely to be used in the
child's daily life. In viewing a picture of a railroad station, the train and its engine
are obvious, and the words for them should be taught. However, between the wheels of the
engine is a bar. "The bar is straight is a sentence the child can learn form such a
If the teacher learns to see the details of a picture and
focuses on the many useful words they suggest, the child's effective vocabulary will
increase more rapidly. The child will have an opportunity to use the word
"straight" in many situations, but the word "engine" has limited
application. The teacher must learn to note the stripes on the child's shirt, the empty
chair, the woman looking up, a shadow, the man waiting, the girls walking together before
he can use the instructional pictures proficiently. When a child learns the sentence
"The boy carries the pail", the word "carry" can be transferred to
another picture where "the mother carries a baby", or transposed to a real
situation "Please carry your books". Eventually, when the picture has been
presented to the child several times, the word "farm" can be introduced. It is
good to begin looking at a picture and opening a conversation with the words "What do
you see?". As a response, the child might say a single word, such as "dog"
or he may simply point to the animal without using any words at all. En either case the
teacher should place the noun into a sentence such as "I see the dog" and
encourage the child to repeat the entire sentence two or three times. By the questions and
answers "What color is the dog?", "The dog is brown", "What else
is brown?", the teacher and child can begin to explore the picture. When the teacher
wants to conclude the subject, he can do so by reverting back to the original question
"What else do you see?"
A picture can be used again and again. The return to a
picture which has already been explored in a preliminary way should be viewed as an
extension of a previous teaching session and not as repetition. When the child is familiar
with the nouns and verbs in the picture and has a fairly good command of the prepositions,
the possibilities for extended conversation are endless. This aspect of the pictures is
the most stimulating. The child and teacher can proceed to abstractions and conversations
which revolve around such questions as "What is the man thinking about?", or
"What do you think the child is saying to his mother?"
The suggested dialogues should be said by the teacher and
should refer to situations in the picture. Each dialogue should be given by the teacher
and repeated by the child a few times. if the child can create his own dialogue without
help, that is, of course, a far better learning experience, but usually the teacher must
be the initiator.
Teacher: "The mother is saying 'We have soup for dinner,' and the little girl is
saying 'I'm very hungry.'" (child repeats)
When the children are on an advanced language level, the
teacher may try to elicit from the child original conversation based on subjects suggested
by the picture. Sometimes the simple phrase "Tell me about the picture" is
sufficiently provocative to start as conversation. Very often, however, he must be led by
such questions as:
- -is the man on top of the bus?
- -are the people going down the steps?
- -is the man bending over?
What do you think
- -he is doing?
- -she is carrying?
- -they are saying?
- -is the car going?
- -is she taking the baby?
- -did the mother make the cake?
- -did the accident happen?
- -do you make a snowman?
- Free conversation may be related to a picture, but begins
to focus attention away from the concrete example to the child's own experiences.
- "Did you ever go fishing?" "Tell me what you caught."
- "Have you ever been in a car?" "Where did you go?"
- "How do you come to school in the morning?"
5. Picture File
Pictures collected from such sources as magazines or
department store catalogues can be valuable teaching aids if they are classified and filed
by topic or subject. New concepts are most easily absorbed when the student can relate
them to situations which are already familiar. Since relationships are so vital to
learning, the pictures selected for the file should always show subjects in a larger
context. For example, an orange is familiar to most children. A picture of an orange,
therefore, is not valuable in expanding general knowledge unless it is shown on an orange
tree, in an orange grove, and in a topical setting. As a further example, it is very
difficult for a student to understand the concept of the Panama Canal unless he can relate
it to continents, to oceans, and to water transport.
The method of using a picture file is simple. The teacher
and the child select a subject and discuss the related pictures. Using the vocabulary the
child already has, the teacher can explain the content of the pictures as he teaches new
words. Children are encouraged to ask questions an extend the conversation to related
topics. Pictures cut from magazine advertisements and other such sources most often have
only one major object or figure with little associated background. Since they lack detail,
these pictures are not as useful as the instructional pictures for teaching vocabulary,
but they add great variety to the sessions because they show scenes such as a clam digger
against a marine background, a potato farm complete with tractor and farmer, a soap
factory showing the process from beginning to end. In most instances, several pictures
should be used together to form a large contextual background.
Outline for a picture file:
- Example: cotton shirt
- cotton plant, picking cotton, spinning, weaving, factory where cloth is
made into garment.
Buildings: churches, schools, theaters, stores, houses,
apartment houses, government buildings, museums, libraries, barns, hospitals, jails, forts
Terrains: jungles, plains, deserts, mountains, cities,
seashore, arctic regions, canyons, suburbs, farmlands, hills
Kinds of Life: mammals, reptiles, insects, crustaceans,
States and Countries:
||windmill, wooden shoes, dikes, canal
Land: automobiles, trains, subways, elevators, covered wagon, horse-drawn
vehicles, animal transport (camels), bicycle, highways, paths
Water: ferries, tankers, yachts, fishing schooners, whaling ships, canoes,
barges, sail boats
Air: planes (military and civilian), helicopters, airport, gliders, parachute
Other categories for picture files: Communications,
Professions, Sports and Recreation, Ways people live, Major ethnic groups, Bodies of
Water, Industries, Farming, Sources of Power, Armed Services, How things grow, Government,
Arts and Crafts, Holidays, Foods, Methods of Dressing, Earth Sciences, Map study, Body
Another way to file the pictures would be in a notebook,
complemented by stickers, newspaper clippings, magazine cut outs and drawings. The
notebook could be a study book for the child. In addition it could be put together with
the child which would make it more valuable for the child.
6. Basic Teaching Materials
- Alphabet Flash Cards
- Number Flash Cards
- Color Sample Booklet
- Clock: Most useful device for teaching time. Children
enjoy making a cardboard clock using clip to fasten hands to center of cardboard circle.
- Figures: Community workers and Family (Toy stores).
Wooden, plastic or flexible rubber and wire figures, different skin colors. Used to
teach vocabulary for different kinds of people and uniforms, and to set up play-acting
situations which stimulate conversation.
- Go Together Lotto (Judy/ Instructo from GIFT catalogue)
- Object Lotto (Ravensburger, Frank Schaffer Publications)
- Opposites Puzzle (Ravensburger, Frank Schaffer
- What's Missing Lotto (Ravensburger)
- Each large Lotto card shows a multicolored scene from which several details (leg of a
chair, one ear of an animal) have been omitted. Smaller cards which show missing details
are placed on larger cars to complete the picture.
- Words That Go Together Lotto (GIFT)
- Picture Lotto game illustrating common words and such specialized vocabulary as a
factory, greenhouse, and helicopter. Arranged by category.
- Illustrated Verbs (School sisters of Notre Dame, Chinchuba
Institute, Marrero, La.).
- Each page illustrates one verb in three or four situations. For example, the verb
"to blow" shows pictures of a boy blowing up a balloon, a leaf blown by the
wind, and a man's hat blowing off. "Illustrated Verbs was originated and is used by
the School Sisters of Notre Dame to help deaf children learn to speak.
- Instructional Pictures (Books about daily life from Ali
- Maps of U.S. and Europe
- Object box
- Picture Words for Beginners (Trend Enterprises)
- Deck of Flash cards, each illustrating a common subject. May be used individually as
vocabulary flash cards (for review), or several related cards may be combined to suggest a
story or conversation.
- Toy phone (Toy stores) Used in pairs to encourage conversation between child and teacher. Especially valuable
device for very shy children who find it difficult to speak directly to teacher or other
- WordWise Language Cards (Thinking Publications)
- Functional Communication containing Illustrated Menu, Clothes, Activity Guide,
Grocery Guide (Thinking Publications)
- Stickers, black and white marbled note books: To create individualized books with the child. One book plurals, one about opposites,
one about prepositions, possessives, categories, etc. For example one foot sticker on the
top of the page with the word "foot" underneath, two foot stickers on the bottom
of the page with the word "feet" underneath.
- Best Word Book ever by Richard Scarry (Golden Press)
- Dorling Kindersley: My first Dictionary
- Dorling Kindersley: My first Atlas
- Dorling Kindersley: Visual Encyclopedia
- Dorling Kindersley: Children just like me
- Dorling Kindersley: Go togethers, Opposites, around my house
- Ravensburger: Ali Mitgutsch, from sand to glass, from wood to paper, from wheat to bread
- Ravensburger: Ali Mitgutsch, instructional pictures, bei uns in der Stadt (in town), in
den Bergen (in the mountains, bei uns im Dorf (in the village), Abenteuer (adventures), in
den Ferien (vacation)
Duper School Company, Educational Fun for Everyone (Greenville, South Carolina)
Great Ideas for Teaching (Wrightsville, North Carolina) tel.: 1-800-839-8339
Systems (East Moline, IL) tel.: 1-800-PRO IDEA, including tests and assessments as
well as an IEP Companion.
Educational Publications (East Aurora, NY) tel.:1-800-756-7766 including assessments
(Austin, Texas) tel: 1-800-897-3202, http://www.proedinc.com,
including tests and Reading Milestones.
(Germany), distributed by International Playthings Inc. (Riverdale, NJ) tel: 201-831-1400
Schaffer Publications Inc.(Palos Verdes Estates, CA)
Enterprises Inc.(St. Pauli, MN)
Fair Inc.(Grand Rapids, MI)
Learn and Play tel.: 1-800-247-6106
7. Category Word List
The Category Word List is a vocabulary reference of
approximately 2,500 words which are necessary and useful for the child learning English as
a second language. The list is intended to stimulate the teacher and to be used by him as
a reference. It should never be used as a direct teaching aid when working with the child.
In using the Category Word List teachers should select words appropriate to the child's
language ability and age level. Progression should be from easily illustrated object words
to those which may not be visually demonstrable but which lead to more abstract
CATEGORY A: PERSONAL IDENTIFICATION
- What's your name?
- My name is ________.
- How old are you?
- I am ___ years old. My birthday is _____.
- Where do you live?
- I live at _________ in New York City.
- What is your apartment number?
- My apartment number is ___.
- What's your phone number?
- My phone number is ________.
- What school do you go to?
- I go to _____.
- What grade are you in? What room?
- I am in the _______grade. My room is ____.
- What's your teacher's name?
- My teacher's name is ______.
- Where were you born? (Where are you from?)
- I was born in _______.
- The country I live in is the United States.
- The language I speak is English.
Nouns and Descriptive Words
|| learn, learning
CATEGORY B: ANIMALS
Nouns and Descriptive Words
CATEGORY C: BATHROOM
Nouns and Descriptive Words
||take a bath, shower
CATEGORY D: BEDROOM
Nouns and Descriptive Words
|close (eyes, window)
||make the bed
|dress, get dressed
||open (eyes, window)
||pull up (blankets)
||pull down (window shade)
|go to bed
||undress, get undressed
|go to sleep
CATEGORY E: BUILDING A HOUSE, TOOLS
Nouns and Descriptive Words