Books With ASL For Deaf Readers Are Easily Made With iBooks



Erica Sadun writes at TUAW about a new, possibly first of its kind ebook, one that includes American Sign Language (ASL) videos embedded along with the electronic text and pictures.

While bilingual education has been around for a good long while, the concept of prepackaged ASL translation is a relatively new one, as the tools to embed quality video in an eBook haven’t been mainstream enough. Until now, of course, with iBooks, the iPad, and iBooks Author.

Author Adam Stone released his new book, Pointy Three, on the iBooks store last week. From the iTunes description:

Presented in American Sign Language (ASL) and English! The story of a fork who’s missing one of his prongs, but not his brave spirit. Follow Pointy Three on his journey through the land of Dinnertime as he meets characters left and right and looks for a place where he belongs.

Sadun interviews Stone and talks with him about his motivation to do such a book. “I want to show everybody that it can be done easily, quickly, and cheaply,” he said on his blog. “You don’t need to talk to a publisher; you are the publisher.”

Stone works as a first grade teacher at an ASL school in New York. He was inspired by the introduction of iBooks Author and came up with the idea for the story with ASL elements on the way home one day. He typed up the treatment on his iPhone in the Notes app, he says.

When asked why he hadn’t created an app, Stone reveals that he has no skills as a programmer. With iBooks Author, anyone can create an interactive story for their unique audience and situation.

This is the disruptive success of Apple, one that hearkens back to the original computer club and Steve Wozniak. Apple devices are all about empowering people to actually create and do things – wonderful and unique things – with the powerful technologies inside.

Source: The Unofficial Apple Weblog

  • rshuck

    What am I missing here? Deaf people don’t have the ability to hear things, which is why ASL was created and is used. If they have a book, they are reading… there is no need to listen. Is this supposed to be about ASL video versions of audiobooks?

    You say “bilingual” in the article, but ASL is based on English. Being able to write and speak English doesn’t mean you know two languages, it means you know multiple ways to express yourself in that language. ASL is just another version of expression, and knowing it supposes you already know English. How other people consider it another language is ridiculous.


    there is no need to listen. Is this supposed to be about ASL video versions of audiobooks?

  • Danielle Renee

    Rshuck, you are missing a lot if you don’t believe that ASL is a language, independent of English. ASL has it’s own grammar structure and rules that more closely resemble spoken French than spoken English. There are manual codes such as Contact Sign, or Pidgin Signed English (PSE) that borrow signs from ASL and put them in English word order, but these are just what you described as “another way to express yourself in that language”. If ASL was just another version of English, then reading and writing scores for our deaf and hard of hearing students would not be so severely below their hearing peers. The average deaf or hard of hearing student that graduates from high school reads on the third grade level. But anyway, I digress. I will get off of my soapbox now.

    My original purpose for posting a comment was to ask how to obtain this iBook. I have looked for it on the app store, with no luck. Assistance would be greatly appreciated.