Language Tree produces a number of DVDs for teaching foreign languages
to children. This review is for their ASL DVD, Beginner Level 1,
Volume 1. The DVD contains seven lessons on basic American Sign
Language (ASL) vocabulary and fingerspelling. The lessons are on
fingerspelling and numbers, pronouns, salutations, occupations,
family members, rooms in a house, and colors. Using a combination
of real actors and animation, the lessons are taught for young
This DVD is definitely just an overview for young children, not
a language learning course. It is fun and fast-paced, sometimes
too fast-paced, I think. The signs are repeated only once, so you
have to pay close attention as you go. A positive aspect is that
the signs are explained, helping children to understand why certain
hand motions are used for each sign. This helps solidify the motions
and makes them make sense. Another positive aspect of this video
is that tips are given for interacting with the deaf community,
which is useful in understanding deaf culture in general.
I found the background music (which is continuous) to be very
distracting and annoying. Some children might like it. Mine didn't.
The DVD is about 40 minutes long from start to finish. It sells
for $19.99 retail.
I think this DVD would be good for preschool and early elementary children
in small segments (one lesson at a time), as long as there was a facilitator
to reinforce the lessons and allow the children to practice the signs. Otherwise,
I think most of it would just go right by them.