“Oh the Thinks You Can Think”

Yup… Dr. Seuss.
Revered by all educators and parents everywhere, Dr. Seuss is a legend. Right?
But… have you ever tried to sign a Dr. Seuss story in ASL? Now that’s a different story. I would balk at trying to translate any Dr. Seuss story into ASL. Attempting to translate the rhyme and the nonsense words was pointless to me. The books that tell actual stories: Horton Hears a Who, etc. would get my best ASL story telling skills, but the rhyme never translated. Being hearing myself, I always felt like my kids were missing out on something. Something I had no way to give them….
Until I found “Hands Land: ASL Rhymes & Rhythms.” This project is underway and is creating great resources for deaf children. I love their translation of Dr. Seuss’ “Hop On Pop”. It inspired me. When I saw our copy of Dr. Seuss’ “Oh the Thinks You Can Think,” I knew I had to try my hand at reading it to my kids.
It was an instant success! My 20 month old was copying the signs with me from the 2nd page, learning 2 new signs the first time I read it. When my older children arrived home, I had them sit down so I could sign it to them. They, of course, helped me add and revise the translation. It was so fun!
Hope you enjoy the video! And the next time you pick up a Dr. Seuss book… just Think of all the Thinks you Can Think – and start signing away!
*Insert educational strategies note for teachers and parents. This video was signed, filmed, edited and captioned by my son and I. He is 8. He took the pictures, then uploaded and added them. He did about half of the editing, captions, and more than half of the signing.
This is a FABULOUS project idea for deaf children! Video recording their own stories is such a confidence builder. It allows them to see their storytelling as real. They are able to watch their story and analyze the language: what could have been more clear? Do I like the story I told? I love using iPADs for this strategy, allowing the kids to have an ASL journal or Free composing time using the built in webcams.
Then, when my son sat down at the computer to edit and started to caption it, I was blown away! Inside, I was jumping up and down. In reality, I calmly said, “That’s a great idea!” Having students watch their ASL and transcribe it into English is a great way to have them really understand how to link ASL to English. He sat there watching himself sign, trying to figure out how to put it in English words. It was great. We worked together on a lot of it. I ended up finishing it because it was getting too long… and we had some other interesting events happen that I’ll post about soon! 

1 Comment

  1. This is wonderful! I am writing my dissertation on the translations of Dr. Seuss and came across this article and video. I love the way that you’ve managed to get across the repetition and the rhythm through movements. How did you translate the nonsensical words? I would love to hear more!


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