Research shows that signing with young children of any ability or hearing level can increase IQ, stimulate language learning, enhance bonding, and raise a child’s self-esteem. More importantly to parents and educators, it improves everyday life and communication: a child who can express him or herself with the aid of signs is far less likely to get frustrated and throw tantrums and can initiate conversations about topics that interest him or her, which leads to adults talking more about those topics, which leads to a motivated and interested child absorbing more spoken language, which helps develop spoken language skills. Countless parents, teachers, and caregivers have seen the impact of using even one sign on a regular basis to make their lives with their children more harmonious. Signing with young children offers a communication tool that can assist children and families in communicating and developing a greater understanding of the world.
Signing with children naturally complements other language and literacy activities such as books, fingerplays, rhymes, and songs. Little Hands and Big Hands: Children and Adults Signing Together offers solid background information on signing with children ages birth to five, along with hands-on games, fingerplays, songs, games, and crafts that caregivers and educators can use to smooth transitions, calm a fussy child, or engage a stubborn one. Photos and descriptions of the relevant signs accompany each activity. All signing vocabulary in this book is American Sign Language (ASL) – which, as a real language with real grammar, stimulates language centers of the brain unlike the made-up gestures found in some “baby signing” books.
Kathy MacMillan brings three different perspectives to this valuable resource: that of a nationally certified interpreter, fluent in American Sign Language; that of a librarian and educator experienced with engaging children in early literacy; and that of a mom who knows the frustrations and joys of living every day with a young child. With stories, songs, rhymes, and activities field-tested in Kathy’s “Little Hands Signing” classes for children and parents, and in her own home, she focuses is on practical applications of the signs you can use every day to make your life with your child or students both easier and more fulfilling!