Kindergartners Learn Sign Language With the Help of Student Author

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Lynbrook High School freshman Christina Franco has not let her hearing impairment set her back. Through a class project which focused on animals, Franco wrote and illustrated a children’s book titled “Ben’s Boat Trip” and shared it with Lisa Genicoff’s kindergarten class at the Lynbrook Kindergarten Center on May 30. With the help of her American Sign Language teacher Elaine Miller, Franco interpreted her story through sign language as Miller read the book aloud to the class.

Franco began learning American Sign Language in seventh-grade and the book took her about two to three months to complete. Before the start of the reading, Franco and Miller taught the students the signs for the different animals in the story. Students listened intently to Franco’s story which was about a young beaver who gets lost and highlights his journey home. The class followed along with Franco’s signing as different characters popped up in the story. After the reading, the kindergartners had the opportunity to ask Franco questions about how she created the book and illustrations. 

As a special treat for the class, Franco also signed the popular song “Wake Me Up” by Avicii for students to enjoy. Once the song concluded, Franco and Miller asked the class if they picked up any new signs that Franco interpreted in the song. The kindergartners were also eager to show Franco their own American Sign Language skills and performed a song that they had been practicing. The experience was a memorable one for Franco who enjoyed sharing her book with the students. 

“It felt great,” she said.  “It was so much fun.”