Enabling deaf children access to literature and reading, Canales has created “Videobooks in Argentine Sign Language.” These videos combine children’s books and young adult literature read in sign language, with voice-overs and animated illustration. This invites deaf children into the world of reading together with their families and friends. Many of these children never enjoy the pleasure of being read to as their families don’t know sign language: Videobooks also helps bridge the gap in literacy skills between deaf and hearing students.
In this way, the readers become linguistic models, families share stories with deaf children, teachers find tools they can use for education and society can become more inclusive as a whole. The product is a model of bilingual quality education: sign language ensures that hearing-impaired children naturally participate and understand, and Spanish as a second language enables the sharing of culture and information with the society at large.
To standardize the development of Videobooks, Canales has created a manual describing each step of the process. Containing all technical specifications, it also contains notes on the reading of the text. Sign languages and spoken languages have different grammatic structures and the company endeavors to respect the integrity of both languages.
The product allows the possibility to read in sign language, the virtual structures enables remote access, readers are navigated with an attractive and clear design and deaf people are also involved in the creation of the product.
Since its launch in August 2011, the site has had 130,000 unique visitors and more than 1 million clicks; over 2,600 students have benefited through direct download.
The main target group is deaf children from infancy through childhood and adolescence, up to approximately 20 years old. Secondary target groups include deaf adults, and teachers in deaf schools.
Over 90% of deaf children have adults around them that can hear and cannot sign. This causes communication problems with subsequent difficulties in language and cognitive development. Limited teaching materials and training affect the possibility for deaf children to integrate with the hearing society and reach their full potential.
Deaf children born to families with deaf signers learn to sign as other children automatically learn their native language. This is because they are exposed to sign language from birth. This means that in an appropriate linguistic environment (a signing environment) deaf children are not disabled because there are no communication barriers.
The difficulties that deaf people have in accessing the written language are primarily due to the restricted access to a language at an early age. This solution works to bridge this gap by improving the education of deaf children in Argentina, and one of the ways of doing this is by providing access to literature. Most hearing-impaired children do not have someone who reads them a story when they are young, and are often excluded from stories and literature that most children access. This lack of access hinders both their academic development and their integration in society.
Most teachers of the deaf are not fluent signers and the children are then forced to lip-read, although lip-reading is a very limited tool to access information and reading. The most vulnerable are those in rural areas where there are no schools for the deaf. This excluded population has the opportunity to access literature with the VB site. Stories read by deaf readers encourage communication within families and access to written language, which leads to an improvement in their education.
Currently, all the Videobooks are available online for free. The company’s other materials are sold to the educational community and the general public. The organization is run as an NGO in Argentina.
Employment is created for deaf and hearing people in each country involved as they being trained to carry out the projects and manage the technical development of Videobooks.
Canales’ revenue is partly sales-based from other products but predominately based on project financing and donations. The NGO received revenue of approx. 30,000 USD in 2015.
Canales is funded by donations from individuals, corporations and government agencies. In 2015, Canales was included in the City of Buenos Aires’ list of cultural programs that receive funding from the private sector, which can designate their tax payments to specific cultural projects. For the next two years Canales will receive funding for their Videobooks projects and will be able to expand their library in Argentina. Operating expenses are funded by individual and corporate monthly and yearly donors, while projects are funded through a variety of private and public donors that designate funds to specific projects.
- Computer/Smartphone or similar device
- Cultural acceptance
Organization: Canales Asociación Civi
Contact: Silvana Veinberg
Used in: Argentina