Friday, January 25, 2008

Children: Favorite Book to Teach Signing to Babies and Toddlers

Signing Smart with Infants and Toddlers by Drs. Michelle Anthony and Reyna Lindert

My favorite "how to" book for signing with babies and toddlers is Signing Smart. If this book had been available when I started signing, I believe my daughter would have learned signs more quickly and we would have had a shorter "frustration period" where we were waiting for her first sign. The book is written by Ph.D.'s who are also ASL interpreters. They both taught their children to sign and developed the techniques discussed in the book while raising their children. They also conducted research studies and tested strategies in their Signing Smart playgroups.

Some of their best tips include:

  1. If you don't know a sign for an object us a category sign. For example, use the sign BIRD for ducks, geese, penguins, and robins. Or sign FOOD for cereal, applesauce, pizza, etc.

  2. Sign directly on the object. Sign DOLL on the doll's nose. Or BEAR on the stuffed animal's chest. Your child will see the sign and the object at the same time.

  3. Sign on your child. The physical sensation will help them learn where to place the sign, even if they can't see the sign at that moment. This works great while reading books. My daughter often signs on our faces now. During a signing playgroup, one of her friends was having difficulty learning to sign CAT. My daughter signed CAT on the child's face. The child immediately signed CAT!

  4. Signing Smart also provides a great list of starter signs with a balance of "See alot/Do Alot" signs (EAT, CHANGE, MORE) and "Highly Motivating Signs" (DOG, CAR). Make sure to teach your child signs he is interested in as well as signs that will benefit you.

You can get this book on Amazon or at Barnes and Noble. They also sell it at their site, You can also search their site for Signing Smart play classes. I have never attended one of these. There aren't any in my area.