American School For The Deaf Teacher Wins $2,000 ING Grant

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Christa Bolen, a teacher at the American School for the Deaf, is one of 100 national winners of ING’s Unsung Heroes grant. She won $2,000 to help run her course “Photoliteracy: Demystifying Writing Through the Deaf Lens.” (Courtesy of ING / August 20, 2013)

WEST HARTFORD β€” A teacher at the American School for the Deaf is one of 100 national winners of a $2,000 grant from ING U.S. through its Unsung Heroes program.

ING said Christa Bolen won the award to help pay for “Photoliteracy: Demystifying Writing Through the Deaf Lens,” a course for high school students at the school for the deaf.

The course aims to “relieve some of the fear and uncertainty the students have about writing,” the company said in a statement.

“For deaf and hard-of-hearing students who use American Sign Language as their first means of communicating, English is essentially their second language. With the use of student-created visual photography as a stimulus to inspire writing, students’ can enhance their ability to write because of the visual cues,” ING said. “Photoliteracy capitalizes on the keen ability and unique way of seeing shared by deaf and hard-of-hearing people.”

Students in Bolen’s course will take pictures with digital cameras and use photos to enhance their writing.

The 100 grant winners were chosen from a pool of 1,300 candidates. Bolen and the other winners will now compete for $25,000, $10,000 and $5,000 prizes.

The ING Unsung Heroes program has given more than $4 million to 1,800 teachers since it started in 1996.

For more information, visit http://www.unsungheroes.com.

By Julie Stagis, Hartford Courant

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