Pass Class Videotapes Children's Stories In Sign Language

It's one of the joys of childhood -- listening to someone read us a story. But 16-year old Mychelle Miller didn't get to enjoy many children's stories while growing up. She was born deaf.

Mychelle Miller said "Because I like children's stories and I can't hear and momma can't read them to me in sign language".

Her teacher Judi Emerson said "There's older deaf children who don't know who Cinderella is. They never heard of Red Riding Hood and The 3 Bears, because they didn't have anyone in their own lives that were able to read that story to them, because of the language barrier".

Now, Judi Emerson, Mychelle and other Pass Christian High students are trying to break the language barrier. The class is producing a series of children's stories on videotape.

Emerson said "They've chosen a children's story. They had to change it from English to American Sign Language, and the partner will read the story and they sign it in American Sign Language".

The videotapes will be distributed to deaf or hearing impaired programs throughout Mississippi and loaned to parents to use at home. Mychelle Miller says this project is a great way to share the joys of literature with other deaf children.

Miller said "I want to see them laugh and have fun and enjoy these stories".

A $2,500 "Michael Jordan Fundamentals Grant" helped pay for the video equipment, supplies and background props. The videotapes should be finished by the end of next week. The American Sign Language Class will also perform their stories at the Mississippi School for the Deaf in Jackson.