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Armonk Woman Teaches Sign-Language at Library

ARMONK, N.Y. – North Castle residents had an opportunity to learn sign language Tuesday at the North Castle Library, taught by Caren Frankel from Armonk.

“It’s a lot of fun, it’s enriching, and it opens peoples’ minds,” Frankel said of sign language. “It could help people communicate with someone they know and it could also help them understand about other kinds of people and how they communicate.”

Frankel recently started teaching sign to hearing children in preschools and day care and she also teaches in afterschool programs at the Chappaqua library. Tuesday’s class was the second of four classes in October at North Castle Public Library.

Frankel’s class Tuesday incorporated teaching the alphabet, colors, names, expressions, and times of day. One of the methods Frankel said she considers most effective in teaching sign language is incorporating music and teaching people how to sign the lyrics.

“I find that if you give people something they’re familiar with, it’s much easier,” Frankel said. “My feeling is you have to give people things so that they can remember it. Music helps people and songs help reinforce things, especially if it’s a song people are familiar with.”

There were about 10 students at the class Tuesday, three of which were children. Frankel said some people in the class have taken sign classes before and some have not but she knows it’s easier for kids to pick up the language than adults.

“These kids are such sponges,” Frankel said. “The three little girls that were here got the alphabet faster than anyone else in the class.”

When Frankel teaches classes with only kids she uses stories and children’s songs to familiarize children with how to sign certain things.

“With the kids, I’ll do stories and I won’t say a word, I’ll just sign it and every time they guess the story correctly whether it’s ‘The Three Little Pigs’ or ‘Goldie Locks,’” Frankel said.  “They know the story well enough and they can guess what it is after I plug them some of the signs.”

The two remaining courses at the library are Oct. 18 and 25 at 6 p.m.

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