Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Books on Sign Language

When I taught in public school I had a number of deaf children in my classes. This piqued my interest in sign language and I began to teach myself how to sign. I found a free online site http://lifeprint.com/ which had lessons and I bought books that showed through photos and illustrations the signs for various words. After awhile, though never fluent, I was able to sign basic sentences to my deaf students. To me sign language is fascinating and like any other language offers insight into my own native language. Here's a couple of books that I recommend.

Webster's American Sign Language Dictionary by Elaine Costello, Ph.D

 Signing Everyday Phrases by Mickey Flodin

If you just want a basic dictionary with illustrations, these two books offer a good resource for vocabulary.

Talking With Your Hands, Listening With Your Eyes: A Complete Photographic Guide to American Sign Language by Gabriel Grayson

This next book was made by a man who is an interpreter for the deaf in the New York City Circuit courts. Although hearing himself, both of Grayson's parents were deaf. His book contains photographs of different signers that, with the exception of him, are all deaf. Each person is introduced at the beginning of the book, with a brief but interesting biography.

Also included throughout the book are little vignettes of trivia about famous deaf people, the origin of sign language and other interesting tidbits of information about sign language.

All three books and the online course are worth buying and having more than one book is necessary because none of them have complete vocabularies.


  1. I didn't know you had deaf students...in music?
    well, you might have taught other subjects.
    this is good information to know.
    thanks for posting.

  2. Yes. I had deaf children in music class. The laws of the land stipulate that every child has equal access to learning. They actually accomplished a lot and learned how to play quite a few instruments PLUS taught the rest of us how to sign as well as sing the songs. I guess I should write an article on that.

  3. Hi Sharon, I'm hearing impaired although I can read lips. I think sign language looks sort of hard to learn well to me. I found you here and i'm following you back.

  4. Lauren, If I can learn sign language anyone can. I have enjoyed the added dimension it has given to my ability to communicate my thoughts to others. I always speak with my hands anyway and now I have an excuse. Thanks for following!


I welcome comments from anyone with a mutual interest in the subjects I written about.