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Have you and your child created an ABC story in American Sign Language (ASL)?

An ABC story is a form of ASL performance art consisting of telling a story using the handshapes of the ASL alphabet in sequence. It is unique to Deaf Culture.

ABC stories use each letter of the ASL sign alphabet to represent something. For example, the "A" handshape can be used to "knock" on a door, “B” could be “opening the door”, etc.

Creating these stories are fun and help develop sign language skills. They offer the opportunity to be expressive and use your imagination to create a story while practicing ASL.

How To Create an ABC Story

An ABC story is just like any other story. It has a beginning, middle, and end. Many of the best ABC stories have a problem or conflict in the beginning and end with a solution.

The story starts with a sign that uses the "A" handshape, then the next sign in the story uses a "B" handshape, then the next sign uses a "C" and so forth until the story ends with a "Z."

Focus is not on the letter itself, but what the letter is being used to represent.

The story can run through the alphabet from A to Z or from Z to A. ABC stories are in order, so don't skip letters. Most stories go through the alphabet just once but some can expand the story and go through it two, three, or more times.

Expression is also an important aspect of an ABC story. As your child learns more ASL, they will understand that it is more than just correct handshapes. They need to include facial and eye expressions and body language to add to the story.

YouTube is a great place to watch ABC stories that other people have created. A really great example of an ABC story and an explanation is in the following YouTube video:

Try a Number Story: A close version of the ABC Story but the story is simply told with the numbers not letters. It typically ranges from 1 through 10, but you can try higher. Be creative and have fun!

ASL Sign Language Alphabet ChartSign Language chart showing Numbers 1 to 10