For most kids, storytime is the best part of the day. It's a special time when - with the help of their parents - they can travel to magical worlds and go on adventures as amazing characters come to life. For nearly 32 million children, however, the experience isn't the same due to their deafness and the difficulties they face when learning how to read.
But times are changing and after years of work, Huawei have launched a revolutionary app – StorySign- which guides children and parents through a selected children's book, translating it into sign language and signing along to the story in real time.
Santa posing in Lapland with Maisie Sly and her siblings
HELLO! were lucky enough to test the app and preview their incredibly moving Christmas campaign weeks before its launch and in the company of Maisie Sly, the profoundly deaf seven-year-old who starred in the Oscar-winning short film The Silent Child last year.
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The emotional Christmas video, which will no doubt bring you to tears and can be viewed below, highlights the difficulties that young children like Maisie face every day. Sign language has no written form as there is no direct English word-for-word translation, which poses a huge challenge to deaf youngsters learning to read. Alongside lack of resources, many children do not get access to sign language at the crucial early learning stages; 90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents and 43% of those parents in the UK admitted they only know some sign language or don’t know how to sign.
The app is available to download on Android
"We created StorySign to help make it possible for families with deaf children to enjoy an enriched story time. We hope that by raising awareness of deaf literacy issues, people will be encouraged to donate to or support one of the fantastic charity partners we are working with across Europe," Andrew Garrihy, CMO Huawei Western Europe says.
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To watch the film and learn how you can help, visit www.storysign.com. Donations can be made via the StorySign campaign hub on the Huawei website throughout December and all money raised will support deaf child literacy projects across Europe, including more books for StorySign.
StorySign can be downloaded for free from Google Play Store and the Huawei AppGallery in 10 markets across Western Europe.