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Johnson Elementary first-graders learn language of classmate

September 21st, 2013 8:02 pm by Rick Wagner

Johnson Elementary first-graders learn language of  classmate

Addison Simpson, right, signs to her friend and classmate Kate Flora. Photo by David Grace.

KINGSPORT — Patsy Stout’s first- grade class at Johnson Elementary School has learned a new language.

The 20-student class, which spends 15 minutes a day studying the language, is so fluent in it that the group Friday took a weekly spelling test using it.

But it is not foreign to the students since one of their own uses it.

The student is Addison Simpson, and the language is sign language.

That’s because Addison is deaf.

“Every afternoon, we have signing time,” said Michelle Simpson, deaf interpreter for Addison and no relation to her client. “This week, the spelling test is going to be given in sign language.” 

Stout and Simpson said the whole class has taken the plunge into learning sign language. Some were in the same kindergarten class as Addison, but others are learning sign language for the first time.

Read more of this story in Sunday's print edition of the Times-News or the expanded electronic edition

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