Learning Sign Language

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  • LindseyD

    My ds7 recently watched a movie about Helen Keller, and he has been fascinated by sign language ever since. I was thinking I might incorporate this sudden interest into our school time and start teaching signing has his foreign language. In less than a week, He knows the entire alphabet and walks around spelling things all the time. He just seems to be absorbing it, and I don’t want to miss this opportunity.

    What resources are there for teaching younger children? Ds is 7, and dd is 5.5. 




    Don’t have a lot of time… but will make a couple of quick suggestions…

    See if you can find the TV show “Signing Time” – your library might have the videos…

    You might be able to pick up some “Baby Sign” books easily that will give you a lot of different signs to do with things that a child might be interested in… HOWEVER – make sure it is one that uses ASL signs!

    There are a lot of ASL dictionaries online to look up specific words… they can be good because it is a video… a book has a harder time showing the motion.

    There are some more resources (but mostly for older people…) – I know there is a site called something like ASL university with Free ASL courses (not for “credit”) – that might be helpful…

    Can’t look up anything right now – baby is crying


    Hi Lindsey. Was the movie the Miracle Worker? My boys absolutely LOVED it! How wonderful your son has already learned the entire alphabet in less than a week! We used a little book called “Sign & Say: Bible Verses for Children” when our two oldest were younger. They memorized a bunch of verses and put them to sign language. We also joined a sign language homeschool co-op class for a few years. The kids would perform worship songs in SL that were so beautiful, it would bring me to tears. It was also a joy to see them communicating to one another in SL. I can’t remember what curriculum they used but I can find out and let you know. At home, we also used a video series for awhile called American Sign Language for Kids & Adults. While your sons interest is peaked, (though not about Sign Language but about the Blind) he might enjoy Follow My Leader by James Garfield and Louis Braile by Margaret Davidson. God Bless! ~ Heather


    Yes, Heather, it was The Mircale Worker! Thankfully, I already knew the alphabet and was able to teach it to him. I just don’t know anything else (except “Lord” and “Jesus” and “beautiful”…just the basic stuff I learned in Sunday School). I will definitely check out all those resources. Thank you so much!



    I second Signing Time videos.  I went to school for Sign Language and love these videos because while they focus on certain signs, you’ll pick up on so many other ones, too.


    And, when looking at books, like someone else mentioned, please be sure to check for ASL, not Signed English.


    Those are all the reccomendations I have for younger kids, wish I had more, but as your kids get older I can give you some more for learning the grammar of ASL!


    Hey Lindsey, I went back in our files & found the course our co-op used for ASL.

    Bravo Family Series: Beginning ASL Video Course

    Due to the expense, it might not be practical to buy unless you had a homeschool group who could use it together. However, it’s very effective in learning ASL as a second language.


    Andrea Visscher

    My kids (6 and 1) LOVE LOVE LOVE the Signing Time DVD’s.  They are kind of pricey, but I ended up getting a bunch of them on their Thanksgiving sale for 50% off.  I think they’re a great starting point, anyway.  Our library had the first one, and we watched it so many times I knew we had to get more.  You can see them at http://www.signingtime.com

    Sonya Shafer

    Some free online lessons (possibly the ones that suzukimom might be referring to) are at ASLU. It has some good videos, but is geared for adults; so you may want to work through the lessons with him.

    Another online resource that might be fun for him is the fingerspelling QuizMe feature on ASLpro. He could set the speed of how fast he wants the fingerspelling to be shown, then practice reading fingerspelling too. 


    We are using Signing Naturally in our co op and at home we use aslpro.com like Sonya mentioned for unfamiliar signs. 

    We practice fingerspelling as we are driving down the road to quicken our speed….it’s fun:)

    We have another video set but I can’t remember the name. I’ll look it up just for a reference.


    We have the book, Signing by Elaine Costello.  I learn it and teach it to the kids.  I taught them letter signs as we learned alphabet and letter sounds. 

    I make up ASL cards to use in the Scripture Memory System (our ASL box) to help us remember words we don’t often use.  You could buy a set of Barron’s cards to use in the memory system.  I try to use ASL around them naturally.  We have mainly focused on common sayings/greetings and foods so far.  I have heard good things about Signing Time, but too expensive.


    I e-mailed my librarian, and she is going to try to obtain the Signing Time DVDs for me through inter-library loan. I will probably have some time this evening to check out the free sites some of you mentioned. Thanks again!

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