Christa Bolen

American School for the Deaf
West Hartford, CT

Project Description:

“Photoliteracy: Demystifying Writing Through the Deaf Lens”, Bolen’s winning program idea, is a photoliteracy course for high school  students that will relieve some of the fear and uncertainty the students have about writing. For deaf and hard-of-hearing students who  use American Sign Language as their first means of communicating, English is essentially their second language. With the use of student- created visual photography as a stimulus to inspire writing, students’ can enhance their ability to write because of the visual cues.  Photoliteracy capitalizes on the keen ability and unique way of seeing shared by deaf and hard-of-hearing people. One of the core tenets  of the process is that visual learners perform better with visual tools. Students will manipulate a digital camera, judge and select a  quality photograph and justify it based on technical aspects, use their chosen photograph to understand and apply specific facets of  written English, and engage in the writing and editing process without fear of failure. They will ultimately create, publish and display  a rich text paired with the photography. Bolen, who lives in West Hartford, hopes the students will become more confident in their  writing skills because of the program.