Sign Language for Babies and Young Children


This topical guide will introduce you to important books, videos, and information resources available from the EI Clearinghouse and other sources.

Contact us via online form or by phone (1-877-275-3227) to request a resource listed below (or ask your local public librarian). Note that some videos may be viewed online, and journal titles will take you to the publisher’s homepage.

mom and child doing sign language together

Signing provides children—with and without special needs—a way to express themselves while they continue to develop verbal communication skills.


Baby Sign Language Basics: Early Communication for Hearing Babies and Toddlers, 3rd Edition
Monta Briant
Hay House, 2018
In this new edition, more than 300 ASL signs are provided along with songs, games, and signing techniques.
Call#: HV 2476 .C57 B849 2018
Also available as an eBook 

Baby sign language made easy : 101 signs to start communicating with your child now
Lane Rebelo
Rockridge Press, 2018
This book provides practical, effective tools to teach your baby relevant signs such as “more,” “all done,” “milk,” and others, all while having fun.
Call#: HV 2476 .R241 2018

Baby Sign Language for Hearing Babies
Karyn Warburton
Perigee Books, 2006
This illustrated guide explains ways to teach babies simple sign language. Pictures illustrate the suggested signs.
Call#: HV 2474 .W254b 2006

Baby signing essentials : easy sign language for every age and stage
Nancy Cadjen
Sourcebooks, 2015
Using trusted American Sign Language (ASL), this book is the go-to guide for parents, caregivers, and educators looking to create effective two-way communication.
Call#: HV 2476 .C334 2015

Sign Language for Babies and Toddlers
Christopher Brown and John Clements
Thunder Bay Press, 2005
This guide helps parents teach basic signs to their babies. It includes an explanation of how baby signing developed and how it can be used effectively.
Call#: BF 720 .C65 B877s 2005

Sign, Sing, and Play! Fun Signing Activities for You and Your Baby
Monta Briant
Hay House, 2006
This book demonstrates playful sign language activities parents can use to interest their babies in learning to sign. It recommends ways to include signing in everyday activities.
Call#: HV 2474 .B849s 2006  

Simple Signing with Young Children: A Guide for Infant, Toddler, and Preschool Teachers
Carol Garboden Murray
Gryphon House, 2007
This book helps teachers use and teach sign language to hearing children up to age 6. The book is organized by the age of the child. One chapter focuses on the use of sign language with children who have special needs.
Call#: HV 2474 .M981 2007

Teach your baby to sign : an illustrated guide to simple sign language for babies
Monica Byer
Crestline, 2017
This book features photographs of the 200 most useful signs and features stage-by-stage guidance, so you’ll know which signs to teach first and which to add your baby progresses.
Call#: HV 2474 .B4684 2017

The Gallaudet children’s dictionary of American Sign Language
By the editors of Gallaudet University Press
Gallaudet University Press, 2014
This book features over 1000 ASL sign drawings paired with colorful illustrations. It explains how to sign and fingerspell, has a complete index of English terms for each sign, sample sentences, and more.
Call#: HV 2475 .G34995 2014


American Sign Language vocabulary builder. Volume 1 & Volume 2
26 min; DVD and 24 min; DVD
Everyday ASL Productions, Ltd., 2017
Presents easy-to-follow ASL vocabulary in the following areas of daily function: actions and verbs; clothes; states and cities; food and drinks; and transportation. Includes exercises for using the newly learned vocabulary in sentences.
Call#: HV 2474 .V8513 2017

Baby babble. 3, Next words, T D N
50 min; DVD
Talking Child, 2012
This video includes over 150 words and phrases containing the sounds T, D, & N; higher level concepts including compound words, 2-4 word phrases, and question words; tutorial that teaches parents speech techniques to practice at home; therapists demonstrating T, D, & N sounds and words; and common sign language which enhances communication skills.
Call#: WS 105.5 .C8 B115 2012 vol. 3

Baby Sign Language : Beginner Signs
21 min; DVD
Selectmedia Entertainment, 2013
This video covers: essentials, potty training, animals, body, clothes, colors, descriptors, feelings, food, people, letters, numbers, actions, vehicles and more!
Call#: HV 2476 .B119b 2013

My Baby Can Talk: First Signs
45 min; DVD
Baby Hands Productions; 2004. For ages 10 months & up.
Gives parents and babies the ability to bridge the gap between the time a baby can communicate with his/her hands and the time a baby can speak. This video includes some of the first words that are most loved by babies, focusing on objects and events that babies are naturally attracted to, such as “book,” “car,” “cat,” “drink,” “eat,”, “go,” “milk,” and more.
Call#: HV 2476 .M995f 2004

Say It with a Sign
30 min; DVD
Timeline Productions, 2003
This video uses a combination of American Sign Language signs, spoken word, written text, still images, animation, live video, and sound effects to hold a baby’s attention while teaching signs.
Call#: HV 2474 .S724 2003 Vol. 1

Signing Songs: For Children of All Ages
67 min; DVD
Gifted Learning Project, 2006
This DVD shows parents and educators how to teach signing by the use of songs to babies or children, including those with special needs.
Call#: HV 2476 .S578k 2006

Signing Time! Nice to Meet You
45 min; DVD
Two Little Hands Productions, 2007
This is the first of 13 volumes in a series. Songs, animation, and visuals are used to teach signs for phrases such as “My name is …” Other volumes in this series are related to days of the week, sports, helping, and more.
Call#: HV 2476 S5782 2007 Vol. 1


Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Hands & Voices
Illinois Hands & Voices (Spanish)
Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center at Gallaudet University
National Association of the Deaf
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders


Pediatrics, 136(1), 170-176
Should All Deaf Children Learn Sign Language?
Nancy K. Mellon, et al. (2015)
This article discusses the pros and cons of teaching sign language in addition to teaching oral language. Experts in otolaryngology and language development are the contributors.

Odyssey, 2017, 32-36
Supporting Deaf and Hard of Hearing Preschool Students’ Emerging ASL Skills: A Bilingual Approach
Julie Mitchiner & Michelle Gough. (2017)
Helping young deaf and hard of hearing children explore ASL and English is one of the important jobs with which the preschool teachers who work with those children are tasked. Learning ASL and English, the children will become bilingual, fluent in the two languages they will use throughout their lives.

Web Resources

About Baby Signing
This online article defines baby signing, outlines the research on the language development of babies who are taught signing, and provides suggestions for the effective use of signing.

Illinois Early Learning Guidelines: Receptive Communication
Receptive language refers to how well children understand language. Children spend their first year listening to the sounds around them.  Sign language can be used to communicate, and helps ease frustrations in young children when they lack the ability to use words.  Also in Spanish.

Setting Language in Motion: Family Supports and Early Intervention for Babies Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
This free, 7-module resource was developed to foster an understanding of the importance of early language acquisition that supports robust linguistic competence and conceptual development in children who are deaf or hard of hearing. Also available in Spanish.

These Hands Were Made for Talking
This online article from the American Academy of Pediatrics includes reasons to teach a baby to sign and tips for getting started. Also in Spanish.