Enjoying Stories as a Deaf Person

Written by Levi Traxler

I love stories. I love reading, even more so if it’s about fantasy or science. I remember reading J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings when I was in high school. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I do remember it was kind of hard to read at first, but it became easier the more I read. That is how I developed an appreciation for stories. I’m not much of a writer but at least I enjoy reading! I also get heavily invested in well-written stories in television and movies.

When I was young, my parents encouraged me to read, read, and read even more. It was challenging at first because I couldn’t hear the letters clearly so I had to work hard to understand the texts. At school, my Teachers of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing did a lot of stories and that got me hooked into reading. I kept trying to read books and if I couldn’t understand anything, I asked my parents or older sister what the sentences meant and they were always helpful. Whenever I got stuck, I found a way to break through and continue reading. 

Reading got easier and easier as I gained more experience reading a wide variety of books. Books from high school English class were hard to read but I learned that I wasn’t the only one struggling with this so I’ve accepted that not every book needs to be read or thoroughly enjoyed. I feel like the most important thing is to find out what kind of books you like to read and go from there. I love fantasies, science, mysteries, graphic novels and comedies.

If you want your child(ren) to enjoy reading, make it a fun activity for them and lead by example. I always saw my sister reading books in her spare time, and it motivated me to read more. My teachers encouraged me to talk about the books I’d read, and it helped me understand the books more too. Each child has their own preferences so it’s a great idea to expose them to different kinds of stories and books. Libraries are a great starting place for that.  It is also a great idea to get the child to act out stories and bring them to life. I am doing the same with my child by reading the books in ASL and getting him involved (What is this wolf doing? Why is he huffing and puffing?). By engaging children in stories, they are more interested and motivated to keep reading. Starting a love of reading at a young age is an important step in encouraging kids to become lifelong readers! 

Levi’s son having fun reading


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