March 12, 2016

26 Ways to Incorporate Alphabet Signs into Your Story Time (1-3)

Photo of window art at Green Bean Books
Today I had the fabulous experience of participating in the spring workshop for the Children’s Services Division of the Oregon Library Association. I provided a super-quick demonstration of a variety of tried and true activities to enrich story time with sign language. 

I told participants there were many resources they could find on my blog to help them incorporate sign language into their own story times, for example:

Free downloads on my publisher's website, including a Story Time Event Guide, Activity Packets with Illustrated Alphabet/Number Handshapes, and Illustrated Glossaries, for all 16 books in my Story Time with Signs & Rhymes Series

Online Sign Language Dictionaries such as Lifeprint and Signing Savvy

And other popular posts including:

How to Get Started with Signing (geared for infants/toddlers and preschoolers).

(Click here for a more comprehensive summary of my most popular blog posts.)

As I drove home from the meeting, I decided to use this event as inspiration for a series of brief posts with quick and easy ideas for incorporating sign language into story time. I’ll begin with opportunities for incorporating alphabet signs into story time, and move on to different themes and categories over time. 

Here are the first three activity ideas: 

1. Sing and Sign the Alphabet Song

Sing the traditional alphabet song, but enrich the experience by signing the letters A-Z as you sing. For beginners, you will need to lead the song at a slower pace than usual. For more advanced signers, speed it up! For really advanced signers, invite participants to sing the song and make the alphabet signs with both hands simultaneously.  NOTE: Even a baby, situated on his or her back, will enjoy listening to this melody and watching a loving caregiver sign the alphabet from overhead—it’s like a human mobile!

2. Introductions A-Z

Sit in a circle. Slowly sign each letter of the alphabet, A-B-C-D and so forth. When the group reaches a letter that matches the first letter in a participant's name, that person stands up and makes the sign for the first letter of their name and then says their name, for example, D-Dawn. The group says, “Hello, Dawn!” and the person sits down. Play continues with the next letter of the alphabet until all members of the group have been introduced. NOTE: Some letters of the alphabet will have more than one person whose name begins with that letter. Simply allow each person a turn before continuing play with the next letter of the alphabet. 

For more advanced signers, participants can introduce themselves by saying their name and fingerspelling their name, for example, D-A-W-N. Players can also add the sign, Name, to the introduction. 

3. B is for B-A-R-B-A-R-A

Stand in a circle and choose someone to go first. The first person begins by making the sign for the letter A. The next person signs B, the third person signs C, and so forth. Play continues with each person making the sign for the next letter of the alphabet until someone signs the letter that their own name begins with. For example, if Barbara signs B, play stops to allow this player to say and fingerspell B-A-R-B-A-R-A. The group says, “Hello, Barbara!” and the participant sits down. The next person in the circle continues with the next letter in the alphabet until a new player signs the letter that their own name begins with. Play continues until all players are sitting down. This game requires several iterations of the alphabet to reach completion. 
Abdo Publishing Group

Helpful Resources:

ASL Alphabet Glossary (use this link to download the activity packet for younger children, and the alphabet glossary from my books is included in that packet)

The signs for Alphabet and Name

Please contact me using the form to the left if you'd like to receive reduced pricing on books in the Story Time with Signs & Rhymes series. This offer is available to workshop participants, consulting clients, and subscribers to this blog or Dawn's social media accounts.

Please share your own ideas and experiences in the comment section below, and subscribe to my blog to receive more ideas over time.  

If you'd like to be on the mailing list for the next offering of my online class: Sing, Sign and Story Time for Professionals, please use the form at the left to send me your contact information. 

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