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Simple Signing with Young Children

By Carol Garboden Murray
Gryphon House, Inc.

10726 Tucker Street
Beltsville, MD 20705
301-595-9500 or toll-free 800-638-0928

Simple Signing with Young Children is a book specifically written to help early childhood teachers (of hearing children) teach the art of sign language. The primary age focus is birth through six years.

Though this book's target audience is teachers in a classroom setting and some of the chapters focus primarily on classroom management and teaching to a group, I found this book helpful and useful for myself (a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom with an 18-month-old, non-verbal son). We have been working with our son to teach him some basic signs so that he might be able to better communicate his needs and wants to us. This book gave us several ideas to expand his "sign vocabulary."

The chapter on infants focuses on beginning signs for basic communication (more, eat, drink, sleep, diaper, etc.). The toddler chapter introduces signs to promote expression (love, pain, hot, cold, etc.), enrich vocabulary (specific foods and articles of clothing), and teach social skills (please, thank you, share). The preschool chapter emphasizes using signs to enhance literacy skills (alphabet letters, names of animals, weather and seasonal terms). For every sign that is introduced, there is a photo (or series of photos) of an adult or child demonstrating the sign. I found this to be much more helpful than resources that illustrate the signs only with drawings.

If you are a parent of a child in this age group and are interested in introducing sign language, this may not be your best choice. I know there are many resources becoming available for in-home use (such as videos, flashcards, etc.) However, if you work with young children in a classroom setting (such as preschool, daycare, or even Sunday School), then I would definitely recommend that this book be added to your resource library.

Product review by Heidi Strawser, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, October 2007

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