Sunday, August 1, 2010

Baby Signing Tip: You Can Sign While You Read Together!

Most of the signing I do with Nate is in the context of our everyday conversations. I tend to sign one to three words per sentence. Here is a typical conversation during lunch (the capitalized words are signed as well as spoken):  "Do you want to EAT MORE food or do you just want to keep throwing your AVOCADO on the floor? Oh, your HAT? You want your HAT? Here's your HAT. Oh, THANK YOU for smooshing your AVOCADO on your HAT."

Another easy way to incorporate signing (especially for things you don't talk about in everyday conversation) is to sign while you read to your baby or toddler. It's more important that you use a few signs regularly and consistently rather than many signs sporadically. To start, learn a few relevant signs for your child's favorite book. The dictionary at www.lifeprint.com is a great resource.

You can sit your child facing you, so that he can see your face & hands easily while you sign. Or you sit your child on your lap and make the signs on him or the book. For example, if you were to sign BIRD you could move your finger beak in front of your own mouth, in front of your baby's mouth or just on the book itself. Do whatever is most comfortable for you. Just don't forget to speak the word as you sign it, since the ultimate goal (or one of them) is to teach the meaning of the spoken words to your hearing child.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?: 40th Anniversary Edition (Brown Bear and Friends)A book that I find easy to sign with is Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? There is only one animal per page, so it's very clear which one you are talking about.  I also find that animal signs are easy for me to remember, since they often have something to do with the physical traits of the animal (like in the BIRD example). When I get to an animal in the book and I don't know the sign for it, I simple don't make a sign for that animal. (Which reminds me, I really need to look up SHEEP!) If you wanted to be hardcore about it, you could also make a cheat sheet to keep with you until you commit the signs to memory.

Can anyone else recommend a book that lends itself well to signing?

Have fun and good luck!
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