Signing Success Story #12

Signing Success Story #12

Are y’all just loving this cooler weather? I even spied some fall leaves on the trees!

I first met Lena and her family last fall. Over the past ten months, they have faithfully attended weekly signing classes and all of our Tot School workshops, and I’ve watched their sweet baby girl grow from an infant to an inquisitive toddler. What a joy it is to share a bit of their story with you today!

* Child’s name and age:

Arielena, 14 months

When and why did you start signing with your child?

We started with Mrs. Melissa and Lone Star Signers when she was 5 months old. My family and I started learning signs as soon as we began the classes and although Lena didn’t sign until she was 11 months old, we know she was soaking up all the signs and retaining the info until she could use them. Once she hit 1 year old, she blossomed so quickly signing everything from tree to papa. As of now she knows cracker, water, all done, more, dog, daddy, friend, ready, diaper, and a few more.

* How has signing made a difference in your family?

We are not only proud of her but it also gives us a sense of ease knowing she can tell us what she wants without a temper tantrum. They still exist (temper tantrums) but I know they are not as bad as they could be. As a mommy, I have also decided to go back to school to become an ASL interpreter, and I will continue signing with her forever. I want her to be fluent in the language.

Signing Success Story #12: Lena* What would you tell a friend interested in signing with their child?

For other mommies and daddies contemplating beginning your signing journey with your little one, I would say, “Do It!” It is so rewarding to see your baby flourish in the language. Not only can they start communicating with you, but they are learning a second language and jumping into using those fine motor skills.

We are thankful everyday we found Mrs. Melissa, she is not only our Bean’s teacher, she is also our friend!

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Thank you, Stephanie, for sharing a bit of your family’s story with us! We are so thankful for your family and your support of Lone Star Signers. I can’t wait to see you soar in your ASL classes this spring!

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We are always happy to have NEW families join us, too! Join us for our next Sign & Stroll event–a fall field trip San Antonio Botanical Garden on October 22nd.

Join Lone Star Signers for a fall field trip!

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Previous Signing Success Stories:

I want to start signing with my kids; now what?

Congratulations–signing with your children is a GREAT decision! (See a great list of benefits here and here!) However, unless you grew up signing or you took American Sign Language classes in high school or college, it can be a tricky language to start learning.

Please note that Lone Star Signers uses affiliate links at no additional cost to you. I only recommend items that we have personally used and loved.

Resources to help you get started learning American Sign Language (ASL) with your children from Lone Star Signers!

My favorite resource to start is the Baby Signing Time and Signing Time DVDs. I am a visual learner, so seeing the sign (versus reading a written description) is the best way for me to learn! You can check out these DVDs for free from your library or stream them digitally on your TV/tablet/phone with a monthly subscription to SigningTime.TV. (Tip: use the code sign99 at checkout to get your first month for just 99¢!)

Signing Time also sells books, flashcards, and posters on their website!

Another great resource for learning new signs is the Internet! We love to use lifeprint.com and signingsavvy.com to look up new signs. Signing Time has a great dictionary available on their website AND on their free app.

Melissa Droegemueller of Lone Star Signers, San Antonio, TX

We would also love to have your family join us for weekly signing classes and extra events! Our focus at Lone Star Signers is on families with young children, birth-5 years old.

If you are looking for more advanced ASL resources for children older than age 5, stay tuned for the release of the NEW Signing Time Sentences coming later this fall! Several San Antonio area high schools and colleges also offer American Sign Language courses–I recommend you contact the department head for information about private lessons/tutoring.

Related: Signing Resources from the San Antonio Public Library and Signing Resources, Part 2

Please let me know how I can assist your family get started signing today!

Signing Success Story #11

Signing Success StoryToday’s signing story is about a pair of brothers who have been part of our Lone Star Signers community for about a year. I LOVE having sibling sets attend class together because each child learns differently. I think sometimes it’s easier for parents to be consistent in signing with their younger children when there’s an older child (or two) to help. Watching these two boys grow, learn, and giggle together has been a real treat!

* Child’s name and age:

Baker (4 years old) and Brady (22 months)

When and why did you start signing with your child?

We started signing with Baker so we could communicate with him before he started talking.  Brady ended up learning so much in the class!!  He has been one of the biggest influences on Baker’s learning since he loves to watch Big Brother.

Signing Success Story #11 | Lone Star Signers

Baker signs BLUE!

* How has signing made a difference in your family?

Baker can easily communicate his needs without knowing how to say the actual words yet.  Attending classes also created a special time of fun for my boys and I to laugh and play completely uninterrupted.  I also made some new friends along the way!!

* What would you tell a friend interested in signing with their child?

It might seem like signing isn’t working with them, but give each child time and you will be surprised by the results.  If nothing else, everyone has fun, which is really what childhood is all about.

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Thank you, Katie, for sharing a bit of your family’s story with us. We love having you and the boys in our community!

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We are always happy to have NEW families join us, too! Join us for our next Sign & Stroll event on September 24th.

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Previous Signing Success Stories:

Signing Success Story #9 | San Antonio Baby Sign Language Classes

Signing Success Story #9 | San Antonio * Baby Signing

We recently finished up our winter session of signing classes. Can you believe we’re now up to 47 graduates from our Baby Bounce & Sign, Toddler Time, and Play & Sign classes?! I love seeing young children and their families develop their early communication skills–sign language is wonderful for bonding, reducing tantrums, and developing emergent literacy skills.

I’m fortunate to spend 45 minutes a week with terrific families, but the REAL progress happens at home. Annie and JJ are amazing hands-on parents; they have been bringing their daughter Lux to signing class since September 2014, and I’m glad they are part of our community.We hope their story encourages you today!

Child’s name and age:

Lux (17 months)

When and why did you start signing with your child?

We started signing with Lux when she was about 11 months old.  We began trying to use sign language with her because we heard that it could potentially help her communicate with us much sooner than if we had waited for her to verbalize her wants and needs.  We wanted to use sign language as a way to communicate with one another before she began speaking regularly.

* How has signing made a difference in your family?

Signing Success Story #9 | San Antonio * Baby Signing

Lux graduated from our Toddler Time classes!

Our sign language classes with Lone Star Signers have changed our lives tremendously! Our child is only 17 months old, and thanks to her signs, she can communicate over a dozen words with us despite the fact that she only speaks a handful of words so far.  For example, if she is done eating, she will make the sign for “all finished,” and we know that she is full and wants down from her highchair.  Also, if we are getting ready to leave the house, we can sign “socks and shoes” and she knows to go and grab her socks and shoes.

Her favorite signs to use are “dog” and “food” as these are her two favorite things in our home! We have two large dogs that she is fascinated with, and she is constantly signing “dog.” Also, as she is a very big eater, we love that she can ask us for a snack by signing “food.”

I would say that we use signs every day for almost every major task in our routine.  When it’s time for bed, we even use signs to end our day;  my husband signs “bath” and “brush teeth” to her in the form of a question, and she gets really excited and signs both words back to us…I think this makes her feel more like it’s a question more than an order, which is always nice with a toddler 😉 I imagine we would have so many more tantrums in our home without our signs to help us tell one another what we want, so we are so appreciative to Melissa and what she has taught us.

* What would you tell a friend interested in signing with their child?

I would say that it is such an amazing way to communicate with a tiny human that may not know how to effectively ask for what they want yet.  As a new parent, I’d say it’s a must have tool in any parent survival toolkit.

* Do you have a favorite Signing Time product?

We don’t drive anywhere in our van without Baby Signing Time playing on her DVD player! Sometimes we just put on the music CD and we sing together to the diaper dance.  Our kiddo loves this DVD/CD combo, and whenever she wants to watch or listen to it, she signs “baby” and we know what she’s asking for!

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Special thanks to Annie and JJ for taking the time to share your family’s story. We are so proud of Lux’s growth!

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Read Aloud Resources

If I had a whole day with absolutely nothing to do (ha, ha!), how would I spend my time? Reading, of course!

Read Aloud Resources from Lone Star SignersI’ve mentioned before that I love children’s books; our home is filled with them. We make trips to the library *almost* every day and frequently walk to the Half Price Books on the corner. It shouldn’t have shocked me when my older daughter started reading at a young age, but I think she loves books even more than I do. (She was trying to read in the dark in the car the other night…by the light of the headlights behind us.)

I’ll be honest with you: I’ve been shirking a bit when it comes to actually reading aloud to the girls. Yes, we have lots of books all over the place and Addie loves to read to her little sister, but I haven’t been so great about sitting down on the couch and reading together every day.

My good friend Veronica of Seven Lovely Things told me about the Read Aloud Revival podcast from Sarah Mackenzie, and I’m so thankful she did! I’m eagerly devouring each episode after lunch while I soak up some sunshine and the girls run around outside.

My favorite episode is still the first one, with special guest Andrew Pudewa. His points about reading aloud to older children was both inspiring and convicting.

“It’s actually the age that children start to read aloud on their own that they most need to be read to–at a level above their decoding skills.”

–Andrew Pudewa

He goes on to talk about how children (and all of us, if we’re truthful) tend to read faster silently, skipping words and idioms that they don’t know in order to get more of the plot/action. When we read aloud, we must take the time to read slowly, savoring longer passages of descriptions and beautiful language.

Now that we’re more than halfway through the school year, I’m taking some time to re-prioritize our afternoon routines, including more outside time and then a delicious time of reading aloud together on the couch before we retreat to separate corners for rest.

Read Aloud Resources for children of all ages from Lone Star Signers. What's your favorite book to read out loud?

I’m purposely choosing chapter books I haven’t read before so we can discover new stories together. Each guest on Sarah’s podcast shares some of his/her favorite books, and I’ve been adding books to our “must read” list on Goodreads. Kate usually picks a short story off of her bookshelf that we read first (lately, it’s been a Caillou book from Chick-fil-A), and then I follow-up with a richer picture book before reading a chapter out of Addie’s book.

We’ve had such a lovely time together that both girls are eager to go inside after outside time because they know that I’m going to read to them before bed. I’m excited about the natural discussions that Addie and I are having about vocabulary and culture, and I absolutely love that she picks up our finished books for her own independent reading time.

We’re building our family’s culture around books (the tagline for the Read Aloud Revival podcast), and I’d love to have your family join in the fun. I’m adding my favorite resources to this Pinterest board–let me know if you stumble across any other “can’t miss” blog posts, books, or podcasts!

Before you go, I’d love to hear your favorite book for reading aloud–won’t you leave a comment?