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Story Time

ASL Storytime

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ASL Storytime is an accessibility and literacy initiative created by Nova Scotia Youth Ambassador Kaylee Harding and former American Sign Language Mentor, Elphege Bernard-Wesson.

 

In 2020, Elphege and Kaylee began planning on a video series that would make Atlantic Canadian children's picture books more accessible to Deaf and Hard of Hearing readers. Through their ongoing work, and with the support of Digitally Lit's mentors, in 2021 the first episode of ASL Storytime was published on YouTube for the world to enjoy!

Elphege and Kaylee continued to collaborate on episodes two and three, and when Elphege stepped back to accept an exciting position as a full-time Librarian, we welcomed Lily Van Den Heuvel as our new youth ASL Mentor.

 

Five episodes in and counting, this accessible video series has received positive feedback from the Deaf community, been featured in local media, and was selected by Bibliovideo, as permanent programming for their popular YouTube channel run by the Canadian Children's Book Centre.

 

Though this initiative is ongoing, like all of our programs it is funding dependant. If you're interested in collaborating with us or supporting this program as a funder, please get in touch. Otherwise, stay tuned for more ASL interpreted Atlantic children's books as part of this important series!

Elphege's Bio (2020)

Elphege Bio

Hailing from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Elphege (known better to friends and family as “Ellie”) Bernard-Wesson is committed to raising literacy rates within and raising public awareness of Deaf communities’ literacy needs.

 

Proudly born Deaf herself, Elphege claims her love of books and literacy sprouted young, eventually leading her to acquire a Master of Library & Information Studies  (Dalhousie, 2020) with a focus on Deaf communities’ access to information literacy. ​A long time and passionate volunteer with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Youth of Nova Scotia (DYANS), Dal's Information Without Borders and the Halifax Public Libraries, Elphege currently divides her time volunteering with Dal's School of Information Management Associated Alumni Annual (SIMAA) and the Society of Deaf & Hard of Hearing Nova Scotians (SDHHNS), and, for the past five years, working at various libraries within Nova Scotia’s Capital District.  ​In her spare time Elphege can be found taking photographs, writing poems, taking long walks, hanging out with friends, travelling the world (she’s already been to eight countries!) and (...you guessed it...) reading.

Lily Bio

Lily's Bio (2021)

My name is Lily and I'm fourteen years old. I was born and raised in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia my whole life. 

 

How I spend my days mostly is attending school. I'm a grade 9 student at Eric Graves Memorial Junior high. Outside of school, I mostly stay at home, watch tv and read/surf online. I am on the costume crew of the theatre at the nearby high school. I will start helping out in the New Year if all goes well with Covid. 

 

The reason why I feel like I would fit in digitally as an ASL mentor is because I want to give children of the Deaf community a chance to be read to, and have someone to look up to. I want to motivate kids that's in the deaf community to not be ashamed because they are deaf or because they sign. I also would like to teach the hearing world how to interact with deaf people, especially in the pandemic with masks. I started up a sign language club at my school and many people I've met know how to sign, mostly fingerspelling. I love to teach people my language to be able to communicate with me.

 

Some interesting facts about me: I wear two hearing aids. I have a dog who is two and her name is Luna. I was in one episode of Mr. D, where they did an episode on students with disability, the scene I was in was funny. I was involved in a documentary that was produced and directed by a Deaf man in Halifax. I was cast as a little deaf girl named Lillan during the Halifax Explosion, attending the Halifax School of the Deaf at that time, The documentary was successful and received an award for best film at the Toronto Deaf Film Arts.

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