Teacher/Librarian Guide for NITA’S FIRST SIGNS now available!

I’m so excited to share with you this printable guide to using Nita’s First Signs in the classroom or storytime! Check it out for tips and tricks for sharing signs during the story, and following up with other fun ASL activities.  Click here or on the picture below to download and print your own copy.

Check out the Nita’s First Signs homepage for a video demonstration of the signs in the story and even more links to ASL storytime and classroom activities to share!

Hands Up for Back to School!

If you’re looking for resources to share American Sign Language with your students or storytime attendees, check out the Little Hands Signing Storytime & Craft Ideas board on Pinterest! It’s where I pin my favorite ideas from around the internet for sharing ASL with kids, and gather links to my own videos showcasing signing rhymes and songs.  Check it out!

NITA’S FIRST SIGNS is available now!

“Nita’s First Signs demonstrates the value and fun of learning sign language for ALL infants, toddlers children AND adults, regardless of whether they are Deaf or hearing or hard of hearing.” – Marlee Matlin

Published by Familius Press!

  • Text by Kathy MacMillan
  • Illustrations by Sara Brezzi
  • ASL/Deaf Culture Advisor: Dr. Barbara Kannapell

American Sign Language makes it easy to communicate with your child, and Nita makes it fun! Nita’s First Signs teaches ten essential signs for every parent and child to know, including eat, more, hungry, milk, all done, ball, play, love, please, and thank you. A simple story about Nita and her parents teaches each sign in context, and repetition throughout each story makes them easy to practice. Even better, each page slides open to reveal accurate instructions on how to make each sign, plus tabs on the side of each page make it simple to locate every sign for later reference.

Makes a great baby shower gift!

Order now at amazon.com | barnesandnoble.com | indiebound.org or ask for it at your local library!

 

Register now for Sign Language for Children in Storytime or in the Classroom

Sign Language for Children in Storytime or in the Classroom: A Practical Guide eCourse

Instructor: Kathy MacMillan, NIC, M.L.S.

Asynchronous eCourse beginning Monday, May 7, 2018 and continuing for 6 weeks (Participants will have 12 weeks to complete course materials)

$250.00

Click here to register.

Estimated Hours of Learning: 36 (Certificate of Completion available upon request)

Sign Language is most commonly used in storytimes for babies, but the applications can go much further. In this new 6-week eCourse, Sign Language expert Kathy MacMillan explores the benefits of signing with all children. In addition to learning basic American Sign Language (ASL) vocabulary appropriate for use with children in library and classroom settings, you will also learn to teach stories, songs, and other activities that incorporate ASL. MacMillan provides you with a linguistic and cultural context to help make your programming more accessible.

After participating in this eCourse, you will:

  • Have a working knowledge of approximately 180 signs (introduced through video)
  • Create two storytime/classroom activities using the featured vocabulary that you can implement in your storytimes
  • Understand relevant aspects of child development and early literacy
  • Understand signing in a linguistic and cultural context

Instructor Kathy MacMillan is a writer and nationally certified American Sign Language interpreter. She is the author of Nita’s First Signs (Familius Press), as well as the author or co-author of many books from ALA Editions, including Little Hands & Big Hands: Children and Adults Signing Together and the Storytime Magic series. She was the library/media specialist at the Maryland School for the Deaf from 2001 to 2005 and has worked in public libraries since 1996. She presents storytelling programs introducing sign language through Stories By Hand and offers training and resources for enhancing storytimes through Storytime Stuff. Her debut young adult novel, Sword and Verse, was published by HarperCollins in 2016.

Nita’s First Signs now available for pre-order!

Coming June 15, 2018 from Familius Press!

Nita’s First Signs by Kathy MacMillan

illustrated by Sara Brezzi

Baby sign language makes it easy to communicate with your child, and Nita makes it fun! Nita’s First Signs teaches ten essential signs for every parent and child to know, including eat, more, hungry, milk, all done, ball, play, love, please, and thank you. A simple story about Nita and her parents teaches each sign in context, and repetition throughout each story makes them easy to practice. Even better, each page slides open to reveal accurate instructions on how to make each sign, plus tabs on the side of each page make it simple to locate every sign for later reference. Baby sign language collections aren’t complete without Nita!

Preorder now at amazon.com | barnesandnoble.com | indiebound.org

Recommended Viewing: The Sign Language Storytelling Series from Weston Woods

These excellent videos are perfect for both Deaf and hearing families!  Native signers Missy Keast and Manny Hernandez appear in front of the pictures and English text, telling the story on each page in American Sign Language.  Weston Woods, long known for its high-quality visual adaptations of picture books, applies its signature style to these DVDs, making them fully accessible for both Deaf audiences and hearing non-signers.  Each DVD also features:

  • optional English text on screen and English voiceover
  • a vocabulary section showing featured signs in isolation, arranged alphabetically by English translation
  • a 10-question quiz that assesses comprehension and memory
  • an optional read-along feature that highlights each word as it is spoken

Titles available in this series:

es Very Young Vol 1 DVDBig Al by Andrew Clements, illustrated by Yoshi: Big Al is large and scary-looking , so the little fish are afraid of him.Then he gets to prove what a good friend he can be!

 

 

 

s Very Young Vol 1 DVDBlue Burt and Wiggles by Derek Anderson: An unusual friendship develops between a bird and a worm, showing how common concerns lead to unusual friendships.

 

 

 

9780977097470_lgA Creature Was Stirring by Carter Goodrich: A little boy says that, despite what everyone thinks, he was the only creature stirring in the house that Christmas Eve.

 

 

 

ies Very Young Vol 1 DVDFive Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow: As soon as they say goodnight to Mama, five little monkeys start to jump on their bed. But trouble lies ahead.

 

 

 

s Very Young Vol 1 DVDGladys Goes Out to Lunch by Derek Anderson: One day Gladys smells something delicious and leaves the zoo to find out what it is…and the adventure begins.

 

 

 

ies Very Young Vol 1 DVDLittle Quack by Lauren Thompson: Splish! Splash! Splosh! Can Little Quack find the courage to join his brothers and sisters in the pond?

 

 

 

ies Very Young Vol 1 DVDA Pocket for Corduroy by Don Freeman: Corduroy, a lovable stuffed bear, gets lost. After an all-night adventure he is rescued by his owner.

 

 

 

ies Very Young Vol 1 DVDThere’s Something in My Attic by Mercer Mayer: A brave little girl captures a ngihtmare to show her parents that there really is something in the attic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

You Simply Must Meet ASL Nook!

aslnook

If you are interested in signing with children, don’t miss ASL Nook!  Featuring Deaf adults Sheena McFeely and Manny Johnson, and two absolutely adorable little girls named Shaylee and Ivy, each short ASL Nook video features a theme, from school signs to patriotic signs to animal signs.  But instead of just the here’s-the-picture, here’s-the-sign approach that so many videos use, ASL Nook presents language in context, showing the adults and children interacting.  Funny, entertaining, and completely accessible to both hearing and Deaf audiences, ASL Nook is a game-changer in the world of signing with children. You can subscribe to receive updates when new videos are posted, or you can catch the videos on the website, or you can follow ASL Nook on Facebook. But whatever you do, don’t miss out!

Woodpecker, Woodpecker: A Signing Rhyme

Woodpecker, Woodpecker: A Signing Rhyme

Direct Link: https://youtu.be/YCT3FEC-ZY4

Begin by teaching the ASL signs TREE and BIRD. Explain that in this rhyme, you will be learning about a specific kind of bird called a woodpecker, and will be using the signs to show how the woodpecker uses the tree.

Woodpecker, woodpecker, time to eat! (sign BIRD)

Woodpecker, woodpecker, fly to the tree. (sign TREE with your other hand and move the BIRD to your forearm)

Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap! (make the bird’s beak tap quickly on your forearm, which represents the tree trunk)

Now eat up the bugs you found, just like that. (move fingers to show beak eating bugs)

Woodpecker, woodpecker, time to sleep! (sign BIRD)

Woodpecker, woodpecker, fly to the tree. (sign TREE with your other hand and move the BIRD to your forearm)

Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap! (make the bird’s beak tap quickly on your forearm, which represents the tree trunk)

Now nestle in the hole you made, cozy as can be! (nestle bird in palm of hand)

MacMillan_cover_1p.inddFind lots more great storytime activities in More Storytime Magic, the latest volume in the Storytime Magic series!

Signing with Your Child: Myths and Realities

“Isn’t it too late to start signing with my child?”

“If I can’t learn lots of signs, it’s not worth doing at all.”

“My child’s not signing back yet – I should just give up.”

False, false, and false.

Despite the spread of information about signing with young children, there are still lots of myths out there.  Colleen Brunetti, M.Ed., C.H.C. debunks five of the most common in her great post on the Signing Time website: Click here to read “5 Myths About Signing With Your Child” – and spread the word!

The “Baby Fingers” Series: Cute AND Accurate

Over the years I have made no secret of my disappointment with a certain high-profile, slickly produced series of glossy board boards about signing with young children that completely disrespect American Sign Language and its users by mingling made-up gestures with actual signs and not indicating which is which.

That’s why I am so glad that the Baby Fingers series by Lora Heller (Sterling Publishing Company) exists!  This board book series combines adorable photos of young children signing with instructions for basic ASL signs that parents and children can use every day to make communication easier, reduce frustration, and increase bonding.  With topics ranging from feelings to signs to use throughout the day, this series proves that sign language board books can be both adorable and accurate.

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