Teaching Process Skills with Children’s Literature: I Have a Sister: My Sister is Deaf

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In I Have a Sister: My Sister is Deaf by Jeanne Whitehouse Peterson with illustrations by Deborah Ray, a girl describes the everyday-life of her younger sister who is deaf.  The two girls share many of the same activities, but they experience them differently:  the younger sister does not like the “feel” of a barking dog; she watches TV with the sound turned off; she loves playing the piano but cannot hear the tune to sing along.

The poetic ring of the title carries throughout the book, making it a wonderful story to read aloud.  Some children, who are used to storybooks with vivid pictures, may not be immediately attracted to Ray’s soft, black-and-white drawings; however, each time I read this book to my own children when they were young, the pictures (and story) drew thoughtful questions and observations from them.

Curriculum Connections
This book  is an excellent companion to kindergarten science lessons about the five senses and how people use them to interact with their environment (VA SOL K.2).  The younger sister who is deaf relies heavily on her sense of touch to feel sound vibrations.  Students can have similar experiences by touching a radio while it is playing or touching their own throats while speaking.

Additional Resources

  • Find more activities that demonstrate that sound is produced when objects vibrate at the SEDL website.  
  • Students my be surprised by what they can learn about their surroundings when they stop talking and just listen.   Have they noticed the clock ticking before?  Were they aware of footsteps in the hall?  This activity can sharpen students’ observation skills.  Neuroscience for Kids has other great ideas for classroom activities that let students learn by listening.
  • Kindergarteners can have fun playing an online game that has them decide when they have to use their sense of hearing.  A big yellow smiley face lets the student know he or she got the right answer.

Book: I Have a Sister: My Sister is Deaf           
Author:
Jeanne Whitehouse Peterson
Illustrator: Deborah Ray
Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers
Publication Date: May, 1984
Pages: 32 pages
Grade Range: K-3
ISBN-13: 9780064430593