Center Papers

Rethinking Literacy: Broadening Opportunities For Visual Learners

Kuntze, M., Golos, D., & Enns, C. (2014). Rethinking literacy: Broadening opportunities for visual learners. Sign Language Studies, 14(2), 203-224.

This article outlines a working model that is grounded in visual learning; it is a model for facilitating deaf children's acquisition of literacy. In our view, literacy is more than merely reading. It also encompasses the acquisition of knowledge and the development of cognitive skills that one needs for thinking, comprehending, and communicating. The perspective espoused by the proponents of "multil iteracies" is utilized to fashion a model that explains how deaf children's literacy development may be supported through ASL and various visual modes of learning. The model incorporates components of ASL acquisition, visual engagement, emergent literacy, social mediation of English print, literacy and Deaf culture, and a variety of media. Our goal is to broaden the current dialogue on the literacy development of deaf children by offering a model that is based on a fairly holistic concept of literacy, insights from a wide array of research findings and theoretical constructs, and recognition of the need to capitalize on deaf students' natural tendency to learn via the visual mode.