Thursday, November 5, 2009

ASL (American Sign Language) at the Library

We had the most fun at the library today. Homeschool or not, if you're not taking advantage of your local library's programs, you should be! We have an especially awesome children's librarian at our local library. She even puts on special programs designed for homeschoolers. This was one of them (though non-homeschoolers were welcome, too).

Today's program was a follow up to a Sign Language program last month. Signing is a bit old hat for our family. A couple years ago we did Sign Language as a foreign language. Our local public library has all the Signing Time videos and cds. We borrowed all of them that year (not at the same time). We borrowed some of them multiple times for review. I even enjoyed the Signing Time dvds! I always thought sign language was really cool to learn. I learned the alphabet and some signs from Sesame Street, and some from school (I think). (Sesame Street is where I learned my Spanish, too!) I especially loved using sign language in church, when we were training the kids not to talk during church! Well, they were allowed to talk, but only with their hands. :)

So, back to today. The lady (whose name I don't remember learning) taught the kids last month and today. She was really wonderful. She taught them a bunch of signs for Goldilocks and the Three Bears today. Then she laid out papers on the floor with the word for the sign on them and had a child stand behind each word. When she got to that word in the story, she pointed to the child, and he or she did the sign. Then she had the kids scramble and pick a new word to sign. The kids loved signing the story so much that they asked to do it again and again. She finally had to tell them there was no more time. We also reviewed things were learned last time, and a list of vocabulary words that she had given the kids to study new words. I should've had a video camera!

Coincidentally, the latest Homeschoolers Notebook e-newsletter answered questions about sign language and using sign language as a homeschool class. The answers including Signing Time and a couple other websites that were also on the list our library teacher gave the families today. The two new websites I checked out were: Signing Savvy and ASL Dictionary Portal. The Dictionary is a search engine where you can put in a word and they will find a site that has a video of the sign for you to click on. Signing Savvy has a sign of the day, with video. It also includes a beautiful human hand alphabet, numbers, colors, animals, and other signs. The site is very nice to look at. Signing Time explains some benefits (according to scientific studies) of teaching hearing children to sign like: higher IQ scores, better adjusted, and read at an earlier age. I love that we might be able to communicate with a deaf person if we needed or wanted to. I also think signing is pretty fun. Signing is also a good thing when you'd like, or need, (like in church, the library, or if someone is sick) everyone to be quiet.

The sign language teacher said she's be back to the library to teach again this summer. I'll bet for the Summer Reading Program. You can bet we'll be there, too!

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