Sign Language for Children in Storytime or in the Classroom: A Practical Guide eCourse

You must complete your registration in advance of the eCourse by following the instructions contained in the PDF download that accompanies your purchase. The download can be found on the final confirmation screen after you complete your purchase and may also be accessed from your account. Select "My Account" and then select the "Files" tab to see all of your digital downloads.

$250.00
ALA Member: 
$ 225.00
Item Number:
1541-9319
Dates: 
From:  May 7, 2018
To:  June 17, 2018
Delivery Method: 
Asynchronous
Credentials: 
Attendance Cert.
Duration: 
6 weeks
Estimated Hours of Learning: 
36 Hours
Publisher: 
ALA Publishing eLearning Solutions
  • Description
  • Learning Outcomes
  • Registration
  • eCourse Outline
  • About the Instructor
  • Contact Us

Sign Language is most commonly used in storytimes for babies, but the applications can go much further. In this new 6-week eCourse, Sign Language expert Kathy MacMillan explores the benefits of signing with all children.  In addition to learning basic American Sign Language (ASL) vocabulary appropriate for use with children in library and classroom settings, you will also learn to teach stories, songs, and other activities that incorporate ASL. MacMillan provides you with a linguistic and cultural context to help make your programming more accessible.

Please note that a few of your assignments will be to create videos of yourself signing, so that you can get direct feedback from the instructor.

After participating in this eCourse, you will:

  • Have a working knowledge of approximately 180 signs (introduced through video) 
  • Create two storytime/classroom activities using the featured vocabulary that you can implement in your storytimes
  • Understand relevant aspects of child development and early literacy
  • Understand signing in a linguistic and cultural context

Upon purchase you will receive a registration PDF in the form of a digital download. This PDF contains a link to our Registration page and a password. You must download this PDF and follow the instructions in order to complete the registration. The download link can be found on the final confirmation screen after you complete your purchase, and may also be accessed by selecting "My Account" at the top of your screen and then selecting the "Files" tab. Confirmation with login instructions, reminders, and alerts will go to the email address used in the registration.

How this eCourse Works
The eCourse begins on May 7, 2018. Your participation will require approximately four to five hours a week, at times that fit your schedule. There are no live sessions. All activities take place on the website, and you will be expected to

  • Read, listen to or view online content
  • Post to online discussion boards
  • Complete weekly assignments or activities

Instructor Kathy MacMillan will monitor discussion boards regularly during the 6-week period, lead group discussions, and will also answer individual questions. All interaction will take place on the eCourse site, which will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It's recommended that students log into the site on the first day of class or within a few days for an overview of the content and to begin the first lesson.

User Requirements

Participants will need regular access to a computer with an internet connection for online message boards participation, viewing online video, listening to streaming audio (mp3 files), and downloading and viewing PDFs and PowerPoint files. Please note that a few of your assignments will be to create videos of yourself signing, so that you can get direct feedback from the instructor. ALA Publishing eLearning Solutions eCourses are fully compatible with Windows and MacOs.

Bulk Orders

This eCourse is licensed for a single user. For pricing on bulk purchases in excess of $1,000, please contact us for more information.

Week 1: Getting Started

1) Terminology: American Sign Language and Deaf Culture

2) Tips for new signers

  • The 5 parts of a sign
  • Dominant and non-dominant hands

3) Storytime/classroom vocabulary: HELLO, GOODBYE, SIGN, FRIEND, LIBRARY, LIBRARIAN, SCHOOL, TEACHER, CLASS, STORY, TIME, BOOK, SONG/MUSIC, DANCE

4) Signing with children with special needs

5) Activity Video #1: Numbers 1-10, My Bouncing Buckaroo Rhyme

6) Selecting storytime materials to sign with

7) Activity Video #2: The ABC Song featuring the manual alphabet

8) Notes about this week’s vocabulary

9) Vocabulary Practice Activity

10) Resources and Printable Handouts

11) Quiz

Assignment: Using the criteria in this week’s lesson, select 2-3 songs, rhymes, or games you might use in your storytime or classroom and discuss how you could add signs to them. 

Forum: Week 1 Questions and Comments 

Week 2: Signing with Babies

1) Review activity

2) Baby Vocabulary: MORE, EAT, ALL-DONE, DIAPER, PLAY, BATH, SLEEP, WAKE-UP, PLEASE, THANK-YOU, YES, NO, TAKE-TURNS, SHARE, WAIT, PATIENT

3) Considerations for this age group:

  • Developmental overview: motor skills, spoken and sign language development
  • Benefits of signing
  • Selecting storytime activities
  • Selecting signs
  • Fingerspelling
  • Tips for introducing and reinforcing signs

4) Activity Video #1: Color Signs

5) ASL versus baby signs

6) Activity Video #2: Story

7) Child Directed Speech in spoken and sign languages

8) Notes about this week’s vocabulary

10) Vocabulary Practice Activity

11) Resources and Printable Handouts

12) Quiz

Assignment: Select one of the storytime activities you wrote about in last week’s assignment.  Practice it as you would present it in storytime and record a video of yourself presenting it and demonstrating the signs.  Send it to your instructor for feedback.

Forum: Week 2 Questions and Comments 

Week 3: Signing with Toddlers

1) Review activity

2) Family Vocabulary: MOTHER, FATHER, SISTER, BROTHER, GRANDMOTHER, GRANDFATHER, AUNT, UNCLE, FEMALE COUSIN, MALE COUSIN, COUSINS, FAMILY, LOVE, I-LOVE-YOU

3) Considerations for this age group:

  • Developmental overview: motor skills, spoken and sign language development
  • Benefits of signing
  • Selecting storytime activities
  • Selecting signs
  • Fingerspelling
  • Tips for introducing and reinforcing signs

4) Activity Video #1: I Like to Eat Song (Food Signs)

5) Signing and Early Literacy

6) Activity Video #2: Story

7) ASL versus familiar fingerplay gestures

8) Notes about this week’s vocabulary

10) Vocabulary Practice Activity

11) Resources and Printable Handouts

12) Quiz

Assignment: Practice your storytime activity using the feedback from the instructor on your video.  Post your activity in the assignment forum with this week. If you feel comfortable sharing your video with your classmates, you can post it.  If you do not wish to share your video, post a description of the storytime activity, along with links to any vocabulary not already covered in the course from signingsavvy.com, aslpro.com, or handtalk.com.  Browse your classmates’ posts to add to your storytime toolbox!

Forum: Week 3 Questions and Comments 

Week 4: Signing with Preschoolers

1) Review activity

2) Seasonal vocabulary: WINTER/COLD, SNOW, SNOWMAN, HAT, COAT, SPRING/GROW, TREE, CATERPILLAR, BUTTERLY, FLOWER, SUMMER, SUN, SWIM, VACATION, CAMP, AUTUMN, LEAF, PUMPKIN, APPLE, SQUIRREL 

3) Considerations for this age group:

  • Developmental overview: motor skills, spoken and sign language development
  • Benefits of signing
  • Selecting storytime activities
  • Selecting signs
  • Fingerspelling
  • Tips for introducing and reinforcing signs

4) Activity Video #1: Animal Signs Song

5) Name signs

6) Activity Video #2: The Mouse Story (Weather Signs)

7) Integrating ASL into creative dramatics

8) Notes about this week’s vocabulary

10) Vocabulary Practice Activity

11) Resources and Printable Handouts

12) Quiz

Assignment: Using the criteria in this week’s lesson, select 2-3 books or stories you might use in your storytime or classroom and discuss how you could add signs to them. 

Forum: Week 4 Questions and Comments   

Week 5: Signing with Older Children and Teens

1) Review activity

2) Group Management Signs: LINE-UP, WANT, DON’T-WANT, LIKE, DON’T-LIKE, INSIDE, OUTSIDE, SORRY, EXCUSE-ME, SIT, STAND, RESPECT, PAY-ATTENTION, CAREFUL

3) Considerations for this age group:

  • Developmental overview: motor skills, spoken and sign language development
  • Benefits of signing
  • Selecting storytime activities
  • Selecting signs
  • Fingerspelling
  • Tips for introducing and reinforcing signs

4) Activity Video #1: Celebration Signs

5) Teaching about ASL and Deaf Culture

6) Activity Video #2: Story

7) When the kids learn faster than you do

8) Notes about this week’s vocabulary

10) Vocabulary Practice Activity

11) Resources and Printable Handouts

12) Quiz

Assignment: Select one of the books or stories you wrote about in last week’s assignment.  Practice it as you would present it in storytime and record a video of yourself presenting it and demonstrating the signs.  Send it to your instructor for feedback.

Forum: Week 5 Questions and Comments 

Week 6: Connecting with the Deaf Community

1) Review activity

2) Deaf Community Signs: DEAF, HEARING, HARD-OF-HEARING, AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE, ASL, CULTURE, COMMUNITY, COMMUNICATE, CONNECT, INTERPRETER, REQUEST

3) How to Communicate with Someone Who is Deaf

4) Activity Video #1: Transportation Song

5) Working with ASL Interpreters

6) Activity Video #2: Story (Community Signs)

7) Working with Deaf children in your storytime or classroom

8) Notes about this week’s vocabulary

10) Vocabulary Practice Activity

11) Resources and Printable Handouts

12) Quiz

Assignment: Practice your book or story using the feedback from the instructor on your video.  Post your activity in the assignment forum with this week. If you feel comfortable sharing your video with your classmates, you can post it.  If you do not wish to share your video, post a description of the book or story and how you used signs with it, along with links to any vocabulary not already covered in the course from signingsavvy.com, aslpro.com, or handtalk.com.  Browse your classmates’ posts to add to your storytime toolbox!

Forum: Week 6 Questions and Comments 

Conclusion video

Kathy MacMillan

Kathy MacMillan is a freelance writer and nationally certified American Sign Language interpreter. She is the author of Nita's First Signs (Familius Press), as well as the author or co-author of many books from ALA Editions, including Little Hands & Big Hands: Children and Adults Signing Together and the Storytime Magic series. She was the library/media specialist at the Maryland School for the Deaf from 2001 to 2005 and has worked in public libraries since 1996.  She presents storytelling programs introducing sign language through Stories By Hand and offers training and resources for enhancing storytimes through Storytime Stuff. Her debut young adult novel, Sword and Verse, was published by HarperCollins in 2016.

If you have any questions about this eCourse, please contact us at elsmarketing@ala.org.

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Accommodations are offered based on user needs. For transcription or other accessibility requests, please contact us at elsmarketing@ala.org.