CUMMING, Ga. — The Forsyth County Public Library, 5010 Post Road, is hosting “Show of Hands: An ASL Storytime” with Brick and Ivy Studio owner and former teacher Tracey Varrone. The event will be held Saturday, June 22 from 1:15 p.m. to 3 p.m. and will feature children’s stories told in American Sign Language and English. Children of all ages can explore books, finger plays, rhythm activities, and more in this 45-minute storytelling event. Afterwards, there will be time for community fellowship and socializing. The event is the only storytelling session available to children who are hearing impaired or hard of hearing in Forsyth County.
“Last summer, after a toddler story time, an amazing mother approached me in the children’s section with her 2-year-old son. She told me he was deaf and that they had come to see if a traditional story time might work for him,” said Lisa Echols, the library’s youth services supervisor. “The mother mentioned that in the community she had moved from, libraries offered a story time for deaf children. She said she hadn’t seen anything like that in our area and wondered if it might be a program we would consider. It’s truly because of her that this program exists today.”
The event is aimed at toddlers through elementary-aged children. Any child interested in learning sign language is welcome to join. It will begin with free play for the children to meet one another and become comfortable with their environment. Sensory-friendly items will be provided, including toy bins, giant Lego blocks and hopscotch mats. Books and songs based around a particular theme will be presented to the children for 30 minutes using visual expression to teach common sign language vocabulary. A dedicated interpreter will provide the signing with repetition to help everyone learn.
“The deaf community is an underserved population in our area…I want every child to be able to experience the joy of books,” Echols said. “In addition to encouraging a love of reading, story time is a place to build a child’s vocabulary, a valuable way to introduce children to new words. Signing is the way that deaf and hard of hearing children communicate with the world and these story times now give them the same opportunity that hearing children have to increase their vocabulary at the library. The more words they know the better they can communicate with the people around them…I feel honored that we have the opportunity to serve this community.”
Families as far as Ellijay, Roswell and Kennesaw have come to attend the event. Two additional summer dates have been scheduled at 1:15 p.m. on July 13 and Aug. 17. Fall dates will be announced later this year. For more information about any upcoming events, visit the library’s website at https://www.forsythpl.org.