Book of the Month Secondary Story

December Book of the Month

Baby Sign Language Basics: Early communication for Hearing Babies & Toddlers, 3rd edition by Monta Z. Briant (2018)

By Sarah Cournoyer, Youth Services Librarian, Beaver Dam Community Library

New parent, experienced parent, grandparent, caregiver, family or friend, everyone can benefit from signing with babies and toddlers. Preverbal children are expressive, but sometimes it is still hard to tell what they are saying. That’s where signing comes in! We all use gestures and when we use them intentionally it gives you and the child in your life another tool to communicate, as well as builds their brain. American Sign Language (ASL) is widely used by the deaf and hard-of-hearing community and is preferred for signing with children. According to the author, benefits include building language development, reducing frustration, increasing and enriching interactions, and empowering children.

Baby Sign Language Basics provides a dictionary of common signs that are meaningful in the lives of babies and toddlers. It also includes tips on getting started, incorporating signs into daily life, and resources for learning more such as the manual alphabet and ASL numbers. The Signing for Fun section includes three chapters: Signing and Playing; Storytime; and Sing, Sign, and Rhyme! Some of the first signs used include the “12 Lifesaver Signs” covering concepts that are useful and important to know, along with signs like more, please, thank you, mommy, daddy, mine and so forth. Playing, singing, talking and reading are important brain-building activities. Using signs while doing them can make communicating easier and more meaningful while growing the bonds between you and the child.

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