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Gallaudet University – VL2 Storybook Creator






Transfer Model





Research has shown that Deaf children with access to sign language at an early age (as early as 6 months old) develop healthy cognitive skills, which leads to strong language foundations. They grow up to read and write well. However, 95% of deaf children are born to hearing parents, so access to sign language can be a challenge. With late exposure to sign language, it leads to language deprivation which has a negative consequence on cognitive development and literacy skills.

Our VL2 Storybook Apps Training program aims to build bilingual resources to support literacy, and provide sign language exposure from infancy to childhood. The design of our storybook app is based on proven research in visual language and bilingualism. VL2 Storybook Apps support development in reading for young deaf children.

We capacity build local Deaf teams, and to connect Deaf artists, storytellers, creatives and educators with tools to create bilingual storybook apps.

We collaborate and train Deaf teams in other countries to support the creation of storybook apps in their sign language and written language. Our long term goal is to build a global digital library of stories around the world, accessible in sign language and written language.


● 20 Storybook Apps are available
● 8 new Storybook Apps are currently in development
● Storybook Apps have been downloaded over 50,000 times
● Program has expanded to new partnerships in Panama, Turkey, and Thailand
● Technology/Platform has expanded to include Android development
● Launch of new online training program in 2020


Since 2012 the programme has expanded to more partners in the United States as well as to partners in Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, and Saudi Arabia. These partners include national associations, companies, parent advocacy groups, and other non-profit organizations. Gallaudet University trains key people in each group with the expectation that in turn they will train others. The goal is to build a global digital library, with storybook apps available in different sign and written languages, and featuring illustrations by deaf artists and deaf storytellers.
The overarching goal is to build sign language equity, and ensure young deaf children have access to sign language from birth.


Additional capacity and funding to continue our training program and resources.
Technological partnerships to support our platform and to implement improvements, and updates.

Transfer Model

Establish training to capacity build local teams in different countries, transfer our methodologies and the VL2 Storybook Creator platform so they are able to create their own bilingual resources, Storybook Apps, to support literacy development.

Further Info

Motion Light Lab –
VL2 Storybook Apps (Global Digital Library) –

Contact: Melissa Malzkuhn, Founder & Creative Director,