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Simple Signing with Young Children

By Carol Garboden Murray
Gryphon House, Inc.

PO Box 207
Beltsville, MD 20704-0207

Sign language is such a wonderful way of communicating, especially if you are unable to use other forms of speaking and interacting with others. Sign language is expressive and interactive and can be so useful for young children before they even learn to talk. Simple Signing with Young Children is a wonderful tool to use in teaching young children the basics of sign language and beyond. The book's introduction covers reasons for teaching sign language to hearing children, the basics of the hand shapes, and the importance of using facial expressions while signing. Also included in this resource are ways to teach social skills with signs; teaching signs to infants, toddlers, and preschoolers; and using signs within a classroom setting. In addition, an index of signs is included for those times when you are seeking a specific word in sign language.

The book teaches signs related to a variety of topics, including emotions, directions, daily routine, actions, alphabet, and numbers. This resource is written to enable the reader to use sign language with a young child in any setting: home, day care, or school. The last chapter, "Sign Language for an Inclusive Classroom," is written with a traditional classroom setting in mind, particularly a classroon that includes children with differing abilities and limitations. However, the information can also be useful to a homeschooling family with multiple children of varying needs and learning styles.

I used this resource continuously in my interactions with young children. It is very simple to use, with real-life photos to enhance learning. The children really enjoyed looking at the photos and attempted to imitate what was presented in the photos. The chapters are easy to read, with a format that enables the reader to find words quickly as they are needed. According to research cited in the third chapter, "Sign Language for Babies," babies who are exposed to signs regularly and consistently at six to seven months of age can begin using signs by eight to nine months. This is confirmation of the incredible tools that are available within the pages of this book. Using sign language can increase your child's vocabulary and give them a "jump-start" on communicating with you and with their world.

I would highly recommend purchasing this book and using it with your young children. They (and you) will be blessed by it and will use it for many years to come!

Product review by Christy Sensenig, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, November 2007

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