Okanagan libraries granted funds to add American Sign Language programs

ASL Story Time allows hearing and deaf communities to participate

Deaf and hard-of-hearing residents in the Okanagan will soon be able to sit in on story time at three Okanagan Regional Library (ORL) locations.

The ORL was awarded two grants this year to run American Sign Language (ASL) programming in its Vernon, Kelowna Rutland and Westbank libraries with Sign with Me Story Times.

ASL Basics and ASL Summer immersion will also be offered at the Rutland and Westbank branches.

The grants came from the Central Okanagan Foundation a multi-year grant over three years that will go towards the new programming. The North Okanagan Community Foundation in partnership with the Vancouver Foundation awarded the Vernon branch the Monty & Kathleen Foster Trust to fund the story time programs.

“It’s estimated that 10 per cent of our community is linguistically deaf,” the ORL statement said, citing Canadian Association of the Deaf statistics. “We know that there are friends and families that wish to connect with deaf or hard-of-hearing children and their community.”

The 45-minute story time will serve preschool, early elementary children and their families. And as a bilingual program it will allow participating from deaf and hearing communities alike. In story time, children will learn early literacy skills in English and ASL through song, stories, fingerplays and rhymes.

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American Sign Language Story Time Schedule

Vernon Library

Sundays from 1:00-2:30pm

Oct 13, Nov 10, Dec 8, Jan 12, Feb 9, Mar 8 and Mar 22

Kelowna Rutland Library

Saturday from 10:30-12:00pm

Oct 24, Nov 16, Jan 18, Feb 15, Mar 21, Apr 18, May 16

Westbank Library

Saturday from 10:30-12:00pm

Nov 2, Dec 7, Feb 1, Mar 7, April, 4, May 2, June 6


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