Useful for younger children, perhaps to age 12.
hirondelle | 02/11/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Because my 11 yr old (hearing impaired) daughter was raised using cued speech, she knows only a small amount of signing. I thought it was time for her to learn to sign better, so I purchased three videos:
American Sign Language for Kids and Adults
Getting Started in Signing
I Want to Learn Sign Language (vol. 1 and 2)
"American Sign Language for Kids and Adults" was the least helpful. A LOT of time is spent on animal footage (I could go to a zoo for that). We were frustrated as we watched a red panda roam for what seemed like 10 minutes between rapid signing lessons. Yes, red pandas are cute, but the purpose to this video is to learn sign language. I can get a National Geographic dvd on zoo animals if I want to study zoo animals.
The signing was given in spurts - rapidly between long periods of animal observation. The host is dynamic, which also means he signs rapidly. The subject matter is very narrow: all about animals, conservation, and the like. Not much about school, friends, life in general.
The other two programs I purchased were well watching. They cater to two different levels:
"I Want to Learn Sign Language" (both volumes)was great for a younger audience (maybe up to 10 or 12 yrs old). The program taught many signs relevant to childhood and is a great introduction to learning to sign. The format is a woman teaching three children many signs so they can welcome their deaf cousin. Almost the entire program is devoted to teaching signs. The rate of instruction is perfect for younger children - not too rapid, and not agonizingly slow (except during the teaching of the alphabet, which many kids know already).
If you already know a fair amount of signing though, this program is not for you. And don't expect to be fluent after it. It is only a grand total of maybe 2 hrs of simple instruction if you get both volumes. (I purchased the set from a vendor using Buy It Now for much less... not sure I would recommend paying so much for these...)
"Getting Started in Signing" was my personal favorite, as a Mom with a hearing impaired child. It used the allotted time well and taught a lot of signs. It moved along more quickly than "I Want to Learn Sign Language" but not at a frantic pace. I see that amazon has many good reviews on it, and I'm not surprised. But in the end, I felt it was too short! It is only 1 hr long, and you just can't learn as much signing as you need with only 1 hr of instruction. It's too bad there aren't more episodes of these (other than the one that is already out there which reviewers say repeats a lot of this one).
I have also searched online for ways to pick up more sign language - especially ways that will appeal to my daughter.
www.lifeprint.com/asl101 is a great resource, but not exactly for young kids. The host does not move his lips, and my daughter is accustomed to receiving information with hands AND mouth, so I will save using these lessons for later. I applaud the creator of this website though! It is free, has videos (as opposed to just sketches), and very thorough.
For what it's worth, I will mention a site we found that has actually been extremely helpful. It is religious in nature, so if you don't go for that, then this is not for you. The LDS church has a site where you can watch ASL renditions of their songs for children. If you watch enough of these, you can pick up an awful lot of signing! Most of these songs seem to be fairly generic Christian songs. If another church or school did this, I would recommend it as well, but I haven't found anything like it. Try it and see:
If the link doesn't appear, google "lds church ASL songs for children"