Resources for Signing with Babies and Young Children

The following resources are ones that I personally recommend and are not a comprehensive list of available resources on this topic.

1001 Books in ASL: Favorite picture books with multiple translation options including word-for-word, full ASL, and visual gesture/mime.

6 of the Best Baby Sign Language Books for Parents by Summer Loomis (Book Riot)

American Sign Language and English Language Developmental Milestones (IDEAL/ The Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Education): A detailed breakdown of language development milestones by age in ASL and English.

ASL Nook: Featuring a family of native ASL users, each short ASL Nook video centers on a theme, from school signs to patriotic signs to animal signs, presenting language in context, showing the adults and children interacting.

ASL Storytelling Library: A project of Crossroads, a collaboration between Education Service Center Region 11, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services and the Educational Resource Center on Deafness at Texas School for the Deaf, this collection of videos features picture books interpreted in ASL, with accompanying vocabulary videos.

Babies Can Talk: A Practical Guide for Early Communication Through Signing and Fun Activities by Marilyn Daniels, Georgia Frawley, and Ken Frawley. Production Association, 2010.

Baby Signs from ASL Nook: See how babies actually produce the signs.

Baby’s First Signs by Kim Votry. Gallaudet University Press, 2001.

Baby’s Favorite Rhymes to Sign by Penny Warner. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2010.

DB Central’s Story Time Virtual Book Readings: Join DeafBlind Central and Central Michigan University’s CHARGE Syndrome Research Lab for some of your favorite stories. All Story Time readings have ASL interpreting, corresponding vocabulary videos, and experience boxes.

Deaf Leadership International Alliance: 12 Ways Deaf Adults Visually Interact with Young Children: This site features videos in ASL and many other sign languages from around the world that offer tips on visual language interaction with young children from Deaf adults.

Deaf Leadership International Alliance: Collaborating with Deaf Adults in Early Intervention: This recorded weinar features a panel of deaf professionals discussing deaf adult involvement in early intervention programs from China, Iran, New Zealand, and United States.

Fingerspelling development from baby to preschooler (Handspeak): This video shows fingerspelling acquisition from age 0 to 3 in American Sign Language (ASL) — from babbling to recognizing and naming alphabetical letters to learning how to read words and fingerspelling a word.

The Gallaudet Children‘s Dictionary of American Sign Language: A browsable video version of the classic resource, featuring child and teen sign models.

Getting Started Signing with Your Baby or Toddler: A video introduction by Kathy MacMillan (2:08)

Hands and Voices: A non-profit, parent-driven organization dedicated to supporting families of all children who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Hands Land: ASL Rhymes & Rhythms for Young Children developed by Deaf native signers and educators from Deaf families.

Handy Stories to Read and Sign by Donna Jo Napoli and Doreen DeLuca. Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press, 2009. Simple seasonal stories designed for children whose first language is ASL.

How Does Signing with Children Affect Speech Development?: A short video by Kathy MacMillan (1:26)

Kathy MacMillan YouTube Channel: ASL resources for educators, librarians, and caregivers.

LEADK (Language Equality and Access for Deaf Kids): The LEAD-K Campaign is a direct response to the alarming number of Deaf and hard of hearing children arriving at school without language. The Campaign aims to end language deprivation through information to families about language milestones and assessments that measure language milestone achievements, and data collection that holds our current education system accountable.

Learn to Sign with Your Baby: 50 Essential ASL Signs by Cecilia S. Grugan. Penguin Random House, 2022: This illustrated guide by a Deaf author features illustrations, descriptions, memory hacks, and videos for each sign, along with game and activity ideas to use with children.

Little Hands and Big Hands: Children and Adults Signing Together, 2nd edition by Kathy MacMillan. Hands Up Press, 2023: A resource guide for caregivers and educators for signing with all children ages birth-6 to support early literacy.

Little Hands Signing Storytime & Craft Ideas Pinterest Board: Kathy MacMillan’s collection of favorite ideas from around the internet for sharing ASL with kids, along with links to her own videos showcasing signing rhymes and songs.

“Look Who’s Talking–with Their Hands” by D. Brady. BusinessWeek Lifestyle, August 14, 2000.

My Smart Hands (Laura Berg Life) YouTube Channel: Child-friendly videos that teach basic ASL vocabulary.

Mealtime and Bedtime Sing and Sign by Anne Meeker Miller. Da Capo Press, 2008.

Nita’s First Signs Teacher and Librarian Guide: Suggestions for sharing Nita’s First Signs in storytime or the early childhood classroom, with tips and related activities.

Rocky Mountain Deaf School Toddler Program ASL Storytelling YouTube Channel: Stories for young children in American Sign Language.

The Shared Reading Project: Designed to teach parents and other caregivers how to read to their children who are deaf using American Sign Language and how to use strategies to make book sharing most effective. See the Shared Reading Project’s 15 Principles for Reading to Deaf Children.

Sign Language Storytelling Series. (DVD) Scholastic/Weston Woods: Many favorite picture book titles available.

“Sign Language Use for Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Hearing Babies: The Evidence Supports It” by Tiara V. Malloy. American Society for Deaf Children, July 2003.

Sign, Sing, and Play! Fun Signing Activities for You and Your Baby by Monta Z. Briant. Hay House, 2006.

Sign to Learn: American Sign Language in the Early Childhood Classroom by Kirsten Dennis and Tressa Azpiri. Redleaf Press, 2005.

Sign with Robert: Babies and Children with Robert DeMayo. DVD and Streaming.

Sign with Your Baby: How to Communicate with Infants Before They Can Speak by Joseph Garcia. Mukilteo, WA: Northlight Communications, 1999: A guide to getting started signing with your baby.

Signing and Early Literacy: A short video by Kathy MacMillan (3:13)

Signing Time: The online home of the highly recommended “Signing Time” DVD series features downloadable song lyrics, FAQ pages, and lots of activities for kids.

“Signing with Babies and Children: A Summary of Research Findings for Parents and Professionals” by Claire Vallaton. Two Little Hands.

Signs for Me: Basic Sign Vocabulary for Children, Parents, and Teachers by Ben Bahan and Joe Dannis. DawnSignPress, 1990.

Simple Signing with Young Children: A Guide for Infant, Toddler, and Preschool Teachers by Carol Garboden Murray. Gryphon House, 2007.

Songs for Little Hands Activity Guide and CD by Monta Z. Briant and Susan Z. Hay House, 2008.

Strategies to Support Your Child’s ASL Development: A Video Tutorial by Lynette Mattiacci (10:52)

Toddler Sing and Sign by Anne Meeker Miller. Marlowe, 2007.

Toddlers at Play: A Complete Guide to Enhance Early Learning Through Signing and Fun Activities by Marilyn Daniels, Georgia Frawley, and Ken Frawley. Production Association, 2010.

“Use Sign Language to Communicate With Your Hearing Baby Before They Can Talk – An Overview of Why to Use American Sign Language (ASL)” by Jillian Winn. Signing Savvy blog, August 6, 2015.

Visual Language and Visual Learning (VL2) Family Information Center: Research-based information about American Sign Language and bilingualism for families with deaf and hard-of-hearing children, including a parent toolkit.

Why Sign With Babies and Toddlers: a short video from Kathy MacMillan (0:58)


See also:

Resources for Signing in Storytime or the Classroom

Resources for Educators and Librarians

Picture Books About American Sign Language and Deaf Culture