Rather irritatingly after deciding to learn some sign language with the kids and blog about it, I thought I’d see if there was a deaf awareness week, so that I could schedule it for then. It turns out I’ve literally just missed it, so sorry that this post is just over a week late!
Anyway, this book is written by Julia Donaldson, with a group of deaf teenagers. She’s written two books, that I know of, aimed at raising awareness of deafness. The other is “Freddie and the Fairy”, which teaches the importance of speaking clearly, looking at the person, and not covering your mouth. This book (Jackdaw) introduces British sign language (BSL) teaching a few signs through the story. This post is all about BSL, so if you live in a country that uses a different sign language, my apologies, but you could find signing apps for your country and still do the activities.
Learning signs from pictures can be tricky, it’s much easier to watch someone signing. So download a sign language app. I used Sign BSL a very simple app, where you search for the word you want to sign and it shows you a list of videos of different people signing that word. Some of the people are more animated than others, try to avoid the really dull ones for your kids! Do check what they’re signing though in the text under, sometimes they’re signing a related word to what you searched for.
Before you read the book, double check that you can sign all of the featured signs in the book, either using This youtube clip of the signs, or by searching for the signs in your app.
As you read the book, sign the words with your child as it teaches you. If your child is showing interest in knowing more, as Jumbles was, open up the app and ask your child what they want to sign. Practice together with your child. Remember, when signing you still say the word at the same time. Your child is likely to want to know how to sign their name, so potentially learn to finger spell their name beforehand, as learning the whole alphabet might be tricky. I thought Jumbles might find his name tricky, but he enjoyed doing it and remembered some of the letters later.
Learn together the signs for various objects around the house. Play a scavenger hunt. Sign things for your child(ren) to race to collect. Have your child challenge you to find the things they sign.
Apple (note, in the first video on sign BSL, she is signing an apple computer, so pick a different one to watch!)
A great way to learn signs is through songs. Check youtube for loads of BSL songs, maybe your child’s favourite is there. Or check out Cbeebies BSL nursery rhymes
links to apps/videos:
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