Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sign Language Flash Cards - Product Review

As part of our homeschooling, the girls have been learning sign language. Both Lucy (4) and Julia (2) seem to pick it up really quickly and enjoy signing. They often ask me "Mom, what's the sign for.." (macaroni, cup, dog, anything they can think of). If I quiz them on signs we have learned I'm always surprised at what they both remember. So far, our sign language curriculum has consisted of watching Signing Times dvds. We recently had the chance to review some flash cards that I think are wonderful and even have some lesson ideas that we are going to start using.

Sign Babies flash cards were created by a mom, Nancy Cadjan, who discovered baby sign language and started signing with her own child. She began teaching her son at 8 months old, and by 14 months he had picked up over 40 signs. Then at 16 months, he began to speak all of the words that he knew how to sign! Nancy tried and tested several different signing programs and soon realized the need for quality printed materials to help parents and babies learn to sign. She has a Master's Degree is Rhetoric and English, and years of experience teaching both adults and children. She is also a certified Sign2Me Presenter. You can read more of her story here.

Sign Babies Flash Cards are sturdy 4x6 cards with a picture on one side of the card, and the sign shown on the other side along with a hint to help you remember the sign. Nancy suggests putting the flash cards in a photo album so that the child can page through and practice signs, or as an easy reference tool for yourself. The only photo album I could find that had clear pages (so the flash card would show on both sides) were the cheap 84 cent photo albums at WalMart. These only hold 12 flash cards, so I bought a small file box to keep the rest of our set in. I'm planning to change out the flash cards once the girls are ready to learn new signs. Lucy and Julia enjoy paging through their sign book and practicing the signs. We even took it to church and Lucy had fun looking at it while sitting quietly.

The flash cards are sturdy and well made. The pictures are easy to understand and make the signs simple and easy to remember. Each set of flash cards has a good variety of signs and includes basic useful words. We have the full six sets, and I can see that we will be using these as a valuable resource for quite some time. Nancy has written a set of lesson plans to go along with the Sign Babies Flash Cards sets 1-4. Each lesson is designed to teach 6-10 signs, and only lasts 10-15 minutes. The lesson plans are simple ideas such as reading and signing a particular book or singing a certain song that goes along with the signs being taught. I love that the lessons are quick and easy to incorporate into our homeschooling day.

If you are interested in purchasing the flash cards, all six sets are on sale, $15 off, for a limited time. Nancy has offered us a discount code good for 15% off (use the code "WORD" at checkout). She will also give away the lesson plans for free to anyone who uses this code to order. The Sign Babies website has some great articles worth looking through, including information on getting started, signing with older children, FAQs, and more. You can also browse their selection of DVDs, books, and more. This board book looks adorable and might have to make its way into Julia's Christmas stocking this year.

Aren't they adorable?

See here for more homeschool curriculum reviews.

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