Monday, February 23, 2009

Nonfiction Monday (books about baby signing)

I thought I'd jump into Nonfiction Monday posting by reviewing a few of our favorite books about baby signing.

(Nonfiction Monday is hosted by a different blog each week, and that blog collects links to all of the participating blogs which review a nonfiction book every Monday).

We've been signing with our little guy for awhile now. I love that it gives him a way to communicate before he's mastered the ability to speak much beyond "buh," "nananana," "mamama," and "dadada." At 15 months, the signs we use most often are "all done," "baby," "bird," "dog," "eat," "hat," "hot," and "water," and occasionally "more," "milk," "tree," "drink," and "butterfly." He also has a few homegrown signs like wiggling his fingers to tell us to put on his gloves. And he prefers to propel himself down to the nearest flat surface to demonstrate "sleep" rather than use the proper sign for it, but whatever works!

We just read this book this week, and it looks like it will be very useful in adding a few more signs to our list:

My First Signs (Board book), by Annie Kubler. This oversized board book is chock full of illustrations of babies demonstrating various signs. I like that the pages have enough going on to entertain the little reader while parents look at the signing instructions. The book teaches 43 signs. Each sign is accompanied by a baby demonstrating it, plus an instructional explanation (see excerpt). In addition, small text along the bottom of the pages offers general tips for signing, such as "Introduce only three or four signs to start with. The most successful seem to be milk, eat, more and bed." I think this would make a great introduction to baby signing or a nice addition to any book collection, since babies love pictures of babies.


"dirty / Hand held palm down, under chin. Fingers wiggle."

Bookworm's interest at 15 months: He makes the baby sign as soon as I open the book. I don't think he makes the connection that the babies are signing, so this is as much a book for me (to learn signs to teach him) as it is for him.

Parent's Peeve: There are always some differences in the signs from one book to another. I'm not sure if this is because some are using ASL signing and others a modified "baby" signing, but it would be nice if they were all consistent. We just go with whatever the little guy understands anyway, and what comes out when he learns a sign is sometimes quite different! As long as we understand him, we don't worry too much about technical perfection at this point.

We also read this book, which is a shorter, quicker read:

More Baby's First Signs (Board book), by Kim Votry. A library find, this was helpful to teach me a few more signs to teach him, as we've made our way through the 10 or so we already knew.


Signs included are "ball," "flower," "hot," "sleep," "tree," "car," "water," "blanket,""cold," "rain," "baby," "airplane," "done," and "wind."

Bookworm's interest at 13 months: He already new and enjoyed the signs for ball, water, done, and baby. We started doing tree after reading this, and he uses that often outside now. I think I'll try car next, because he currently calls everything a bus ("buh!").

And this is the set that started us on learning how to teach signs in the first place:

Baby Signs Complete Starter Kit: Everything You Need to Get Started Signing With Your Baby (Hardcover), by Susan Goodwyn. We received this kit as a gift while pregnant and have loved it. It contains: 1) An 80-page Parent Guide to the Baby Signs® Program: An illustrated step-by-step signing guide for parents and caregivers, 2) a Parent DVD: A video introduction to the Baby Signs® Program 3) A Video Dictionary with real-life demonstrations of the 100 signs that are most useful to babies, 4) My Favorite Signs DVD: Video for babies that teaches signs through captivating animation, playful puppets and delightful signing babies, 5) A Signs at a Glance Flipper: 86 signs on a unique flip-card with magnetic backing for easy display on the fridge, 6) Baby Signs® Board Books: A set of 4" x 4" board books for little hands with colorful illustrations and a review page at the end of each book that encourages even more signing fun and interaction. Titles include: My Mealtime Signs My Bedtime Signs My Bath Time Signs My Pets Signs. There is a lot here, and we found it to be a great introduction to the idea of baby signing (and amazon has a nicely discounted price on it).

Bookworm's interest at 15 months: For the most part, we use this ourselves and then teach him. We only showed him the children's DVD that is included once. I think he'd enjoy it, but we are trying to hold off on TV/movie watching until age two. He'll flip through the books occasionally, but mostly he likes packing and unpacking the box it all comes in.

Parent's Peeve: The babies in the board books have odd names, like Songbird and Squiggles.

What do you think about the whole baby signing craze?

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Well, it's not something I've ever really been into (possibly b/c I've never had a baby (-:) but it's HUGE at our library. We had a 4-week course last fall and brought in a local speech therapist who also signs and we had huge attendence. Might be something you could suggest to your local library?