In December 1974, DC Public Library established Clerc-Gallaudet Week as a way of honoring the birthdays of Laurent Clerc and Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet (December 26, 1785 and December 10, 1787, respectively) and promoting library awareness in the deaf community and deaf awareness in the library community.
Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, a hearing minister from Connecticut, and Laurent Clerc, a deaf teacher from France, met by chance in 1815…but their partnership would found a school, plant the seeds of American Sign Language, and provide the foundation for both deaf education and Deaf Culture in the United States.
Read more about Clerc and Gallaudet’s inspiring story here.
Celebrate Clerc-Gallaudet Week in your library or classroom!
Share a picture book:
- Emily Arnold McCully’s My Heart Glow: Alice Cogswell, Thomas Gallaudet, and the Birth of American Sign Language (Hyperion, 2008) is a beautiful picture book telling of Gallaudet’s story, from the point of view of Alice Cogswell, the deaf child who inspired Gallaudet to become an educator of the deaf.
- The Moses books by Isaac Millman (Farrar Straus & Giroux) incorporate basic sign language instruction into stories of a little boy named Moses, who is deaf. The illustrations are child-friendly and clearly depict the signs, which relate to the story. Check out the series: Moses Goes to a Concert (1998), Moses Goes to School (2000), Moses Goes to the Circus (2003), and Moses Sees a Play (2004).
- The Printer by Myron Uhlberg (Peachtree, 2003) presents the tale of a deaf printer who, through the use of American Sign Language, is able to communicate with other deaf printers over the roar of the printing presses, and save their hearing counterparts from a fire.
Share signs in a storytime rhyme or song:
Share an inspiring video:
Check out the Deaf Performing Artists Network page at http://www.d-pan.org for music videos designed for both Deaf and hearing audiences. Our favorite kid-friendly and fun videos on the site:
Play a visual game:
- Follow the Leader
- ASL Manual Alphabet Bingo (follow the prompts at the link to create printable bingo cards and caller sheet using the manual alphabet)
For more games and classroom curriculum connections, see this article: Keep ‘Em Reading: Deaf History Month and ASL by Kathy MacMillan.
Looking for even more rhymes, songs and crafts incorporating signs? Check out Little Hands and Big Hands: Children and Adults Signing Together by Kathy MacMillan (Huron Street Press, 2013).