Signing isn’t only for children with hearing difficulties. It can also help other babies and children who haven’t yet mastered speech. Brothers, sisters and friends can enjoy learning to sign too – the more people who can sign, the easier it is for those who rely on it to communicate.

For a more adult orientated guide to sign language, visit our hearing difficulties page.

A first guide to baby signing
by Katie Mayne
With a full page for each word, the easy-to-follow instructions in this book use a combination of text and photographs to explain each sign. The vocabulary is well chosen for use with babies and tabs down the right hand side help you to quickly locate the group of words you need – family, clothing, mealtimes, etc. The first group in the book is called ‘starter’ and contains the words that are most useful when you first begin to sign with your baby.
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Learn to sign with Olli
by Garry Slack
(Sausage Dog Publishing)
Although the introduction to this book is aimed mainly at parents, the book itself is aimed at older children who want to learn sign language. Olli, a cartoon monkey, demonstrates the main hand shapes and the finger alphabet while all the other signs are illustrated by photographs of children who look about 10 or 12.
The signs are divided into four vocabulary sections, each of which is followed by a story about Olli that uses those signs. The idea is to read the story aloud and put in the signs that you have learned (the relevant words are printed in colour to remind you). It’s a great way to practise them as it puts the signs in context and really makes you think. It can also help introduce theĀ  signs to younger siblings. There’s an index at the end to help you find the sign you need.
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Learn to sign and cook with Olli
by Garry Slack
(Sausage Dog Publishing)
As the name suggests, this book for older children combines learning to sign with learning to cook. Olli, the cartoon monkey, introduces the basic hand shapes, finger spelling and finger counting as well giving information on healthy eating and food hygiene. The next section gives the vocabulary you’re likely to need in the kitchen, including signs for different types of food preparation as well as those for an impressive selection of foods. The signs are illustrated by photographs of real children who look between 9 and 14. The final part of the book is monkey family’s recipes, each of which has clear instructions and a banana difficulty rating. (1 banana – easy, 3 bananas – hard). An index of signs helps you find the appropriate ones for other recipes you want to try.
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My First Signs
Illustrated by Annie Kubler
(Child’s Play)
Lots of cheery baby pictures illustrate this introduction to sign language with each baby performing a sign in a suitable situation. Arrows arrows show movement where necessary and the short textual descriptions beside each picture are so clear that any adult or older child can easily demonstrate the sign to younger children. The range of signs is excellent for a simple
baby vocabulary and can easily be used to emphasise spoken words.
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My First Animal Signs
Illustrated by Anthony Lewis
(Child’s Play)
In the same series but moving beyond baby language, the children in this board book’s illustrations are past babyhood but still pre-school. Each child is performing the sign for the real or toy animal next to them and, once again, there are arrows and clear descriptions to help readers copy the signs. Starting with pets, farm animals and insects, it moves on to a wide range of wild animals. It’s hard to think of a potential toy that isn’t covered here.
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Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear
Baa, Baa, Black Sheep
Incey Wincey Spider

all by Annie Kubler
(Child’s Play)
Each board book in this series turns a well known nursery rhyme into an action song by teaching the signs for the main words. The illustrations feature chubby, cheerful babies and toddlers performing the signs with occasional extra detail to hint at their meanings. Fun to learn with small babies and pre-school children, although some of the signs are slightly harder to work out than with the previous two books as there are no textual descriptions.
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Buy Incey Wincey Spider from Amazon