Junior Brings Story to Life with American Sign Language

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Lynbrook Kindergarten Center students in Lisa Genicoff and Nicole DiMichele’s class received a special visit from Lynbrook High School American Sign Language student Christina Franco on Feb. 12. Christina is a junior with a hearing impairment and has been taking American Sign Language since the seventh grade.

With the help of her ASL teacher Elaine Miller, she wrote and illustrated her first book during her freshman year of high school entitled “Ben’s Boat Trip.” Christina shared the book with Mrs. Genicoff’s class in the spring of 2018. Ms. Miller read the story to the kindergartners while Christina interpreted it through sign language.

Christina was inspired to keep writing and this year expanded on her main character Ben, a beaver. She wrote and illustrated a second book entitled “Ben Builds a House” and returned to Mrs. Genicoff’s class with Ms. Miller once again to share her new story and to teach the students sign language.

Kindergarten Center Principal Ellen Postman, Christina's family and Lynbrook’s Foreign Language chairperson Leonard Bruno were present for the reading as the kindergartners got comfortable on their classroom carpet. Using stuffed animals, Ms. Miller and Christina introduced the students to the characters in the book by teaching them the signs for each animal. Just like during Christina's first visit with Mrs. Genicoff’s class in 2018, Ms. Miller read the story as Christina interpreted it in sign language.

After the reading, the kindergartners showed off the signs that they learned from the story. Christina thanked the class for being a great audience, gifted each student two pencils and encouraged them to write their own stories. She hopes to write a third book about her main character Ben and return to Mrs. Genicoff’s class in the future.