ASL (American Sign Language) dates back to the early 19th century. It refers to a visual language in which you use hand gestures, body movements, and facial expressions to communicate. While ASL is commonly used in the United States, it is not a universal language, as there are different kinds of sign languages used all around the world, such as British Sign Language and Indian Sign Language.
Like learning any language, mastering ASL takes plenty of time and practice. Not only do you have to memorize how to form each letter of the alphabet with your hands, but you will also have to practice all the different movements for certain words and phrases. Some involve moving your hands in a particular pattern, while others require making specific facial expressions. Fortunately, there is a wide range of resources to help you excel in this visual language, from books and online resources to in-person instruction. In our guide below, we’ll discuss some of our favorite sign language books to help you learn.
Visual Communication is Growing
The world we now live in depends heavily on visual communication. New online video chat programs have grown at a rapid rate in the last six months. Platforms like Zoom, Google Classroom, and Skype have opened doors to help people communicate through visual means. That means there are more opportunities than ever to learn ASL online.
But, how can you supplement your ASL learning methods? How can you keep youngsters engaged with their ASL learning, while continuing to increase their fluency? One great way is to turn to American Sign Language books for beginners. These books can help boost understanding and increase engagement for learners of all ages.
Looking for the best book to learn sign language? Then you have come to the right place. We have picked a handful of the best sign language books to kick start you or your child’s learning journey. Whether you want to focus on the days of the week or spend some time on colors, check out the best ASL books we’ve put together for you.
Best ASL Learning Books
While there are many great American Sign Language books out there, you can incorporate ASL into just about any kind of story you read. Once you learn the hand gestures and movements for specific words and phrases, you can follow along and engage with the story using ASL.
Thomas G. Wes – “Seeing What Others Cannot See”
This book is a great tool for educators and provides in-depth guidance that will assist you in promoting early learning through the use of signed communication.
Some of the best ASL books for beginners are those with vibrant visuals throughout the story that give readers a visual concept of the story taking place. Visuals help engage learners who are Deaf/HH and/or hearing.
American Sign Language for Kids: 101 Easy Signs for Nonverbal Communication
This is a great resource that is ideal for parents of nonverbal children or children with communication impairments that range from ages 3-6 years old.
This text offers a simple way to introduce both the parent and the child to American Sign Language with 101 vocabulary signs that can be used for daily use. It offers fun activities to practice and includes practical guides with advice for implementing American Sign Language to children with Autism, Deaf early learners, and more.
Lora Heller – “Sign Language ABC”
If your child is just starting to explore ASL, it’s best to begin with the basics. This sign language book for kids shows you how to form each letter with your hands and associates each letter with a specific sound and word. Read this sign language book with your child, and she’ll be signing the alphabet before you know it.
Looking for a Book That Teaches Food & Days of the Week Signs?
Look no further than “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” written by Earl Carle. Though this book is not geared specifically toward ASL learners, it is a wonderful resource nonetheless. This has a great list of foods to teach beginners. The flow of the story starts on Sunday, and this is a great way to teach days of the week and foods.
The food list is quite long, so try breaking the story up to be read over the course of a week. Assign foods that go with the day of the week that tell what the hungry caterpillar ate. Each day the caterpillar eats a different number of things. This can be taken a step further by adding colors, and numbers to your ASL lesson. As you teach your child how to sign each item of food and the corresponding day of the week, you will cover a vast range of vocabulary by the time you finish the story.
Looking for a Book That Teaches About Emotions Through Colors?
“What’s that Color” is a children’s book written by C.W. The book details the (add information that the author sent via fb, when seeking to sign this book )
Looking for a book to teach ASL beginners about animals? Try “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” This is a book that can give ASL learners insight on how to create a visual show and tell. Just like “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” this book by the same author encourages your child to engage with the storyline.
They can pretend to be the brown bear using ASL “to show” the brown bear’s actions. Some great ASL vocabulary and best practices to use in your teaching style can include a list of animals mentioned in the story. This book also gives learners the opportunity to practice indexing.
Additional ASL for Beginners Books and Resources
Looking for some online books to reinforce ASL learning for beginners? Digital Deaf signing books are available online via YouTube and through some free sources. For example, Rocky Mountain Deaf School, and ASL Accessible provide free signing books for beginning ASL learners.
Here’s a list of online sources that have an abundant resource of books for ASL learners.
- ASL Nook: https://aslnook.com/
- Once Upon a Sign Videos: https://www.dawnsign.com/series/ouas/details/once-upon-a-sign
- ITV Signed Stories: https://www.signedstories.com/
- Deaf Education Library: http://www.deafedlibrary.org/
Youtube has always been a great source to quickly access ASL words, phrases, and ABC stories. Here’s a list of youtube channels that foster best practices and books for beginning ASL learners.
Helpful YouTube Channels:
- EROD Videos
- ASD Toddlers
- CSD Toddlers
- Clercs Children
- Jay Krieger
In addition to these online channels and books, expand your knowledge by downloading some ASL learning apps. Incorporating these apps into your daily practice is just one more way you boost your understanding of this language.
Most Importantly, Find ASL Learning Books Your Young Learners Love
These resources will get you started. But remember, the most important step is finding ASL learning books that your child or student engages with.
Have fun reading ASL learning books together, finding books read in ASL online, or signing your way through traditional children’s books. Books are a beautiful way to teach young learners this visual language.
While our list of the best sign language books is a great place to start, don’t underestimate the value of working with a certified American Sign Language teacher. When you sign up for ASL lessons here at TakeLessons, you will receive one-on-one instruction from a private teacher who can boost you or your child’s understanding of this visual language. Join our in-person or online ASL for beginners classes today