Ella Mae Lentz

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Ella Mae Lentz


Author, Teacher, & ASL Advocate
(May. 5, 1954 – Present) 



Reading Grade Level:

1st – 2nd

3rd – 4th

5th & up


Ella Mae Lentz is a deaf American teacher, poet, actress, and spokesperson for ASL. ASL stands for American Sign Language. ASL is used by people who are cannot hear, which allows them to use their hands and facial expressions to communicate. Like spoken languages, sign language is different all over the world. ASL is the sign language we use in America. Ella was born in the state of California on May 5, 1954. That is about 60 years ago. Like Ella, both of her parents were born deaf, and one of her brothers was as well. The rest of her family is hearing.

Ella started her schooling at the California School for Deaf. After she graduated, she decided to go to college where she received her degrees in English and drama. Soon after her time in college, Ella joined the National Theatre of the Deaf Summer School where she really started her job in ASL. Her job involved her presenting, performing, teaching and even learning new things all about American Sign Language. In her extra time, she would play big roles in different plays and become a very well known actress within the deaf community.

Ella found what she enjoyed the most about her job was teaching ASL to others. Teaching was what brought her joy. Although she loved it, in 2007 she decided on retiring from teaching but formed her own business named ASL Presents. ASL Presents serves and helps those who are interested in becoming better ASL performers.

Ella is married to her long-time partner Judy D. Gough. Together they have raised 5 children, one of them being deaf. They also have 10 grandchildren together, of which 3 are deaf. Ella and Judy love animals and have had many different kinds of pets including dogs, cats, llamas, a goat, rabbits, rats, a mouse, and iguanas. Ella has done a lot of work for the deaf community and culture.

(Start learning American Sign Language with the ASL ABC Song!)


Reflection Question

What is new a language you would like to learn? Why?