Because children initially experience the manual signs from their own perspective as if they were making the signs, the training sequences first presents the manual signs and their referents as they would appear to the child producing the sign. Only after this does the training sequence present the sign from other perspectives—including how the sign would look when presented by someone directly facing the child. For example, when the
Figure 1 0.4 The term break in (a) interwoven and (b) command sequences
Figure 1 0.4 The term break in (a) interwoven and (b) command sequences concept come first appears on the screen, the sign (beckoning arms and fingers) is interwoven with a child coming directly toward the signing viewer. Later presentations of the concept gradually shift from the subjective to the objective viewpoint. The child then has opportunity to learn that the relation between sign/word and referent is independent of perspective; that is, two people at right angles to the viewer may communicate certain meanings to each other independent of their orientation to the viewer.
The training sequences are designed not only to establish certain relations between sign, word, and event but—through the excitement they generate—to elicit a contagious response to these relations among the children. The training tape achieves this by combining images with vivid sound effects and brisk pacing, and by creating a sense of urgency through different voices uttering the words fused with the signs. For example, as the children hear "Stop! Stop!" and see the manual sign for stop (the edge of one hand strikes the palm of another), in rapid succession the stop sign appears in front ofbike riders, a car, and so forth, coupled with the shriek ofbrakes and the skidding of tires. Such effects enhance the ability of the children to take in the significance of sign and word in life-simulated situations.
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When parents help their children learn to read, they help open the door to a new world. As a parent, you can begin an endless learning chain: You read to your children, they develop a love of stories and poems, they want to read on their own, they practice reading, and finally they read for their own information or pleasure. They become readers, and their world is forever expanded and enriched.