Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Saturday, November 23, 2013

2013 Two Little Hands Sale

It is that time of year! Time to shop the great holiday sales. Why not start with the one over at Two Little Hands? Click on the picture to go to the sale page! Holiday Sales at Signing Time - Save up to 40%!
Pre-Turkey Tuesday is 11/26/2013 in the US, from the evening of the 26th ~ morning of the 27th in Japan.
Black Friday Weekend runs from 11/29~12/1in the US.
Cyber Monday is 12/2/13 US time, from the evening of the 2nd ~ morning of the 3rd in Japan.

* International shipping is not free so the best deal it you live outside Japan is Pre-Turkey Tuesday!

Need some suggestions?

Baby Signing Time is a great gift to give at a Baby Shower, to new parents or even for Baby's First birthday or Christmas.

Potty Time is like a continuation of the Baby Signing Time series so it is popular with infants/toddlers but the topics - about growing and the body - also speak to the preschool crowd.

Signing Time is loved by toddlers up through early elementary kids. Signing Time 2 Vol. 4: My Favorite Season includes holiday signs. Move and Groove is great to keep on hand for snow days when the kids are stuck inside but need to burn off some energy!

Anyone love books? The board books are some of our favorites!

The new line - Rachel and the Treeschoolers - inspires curiosity in preschoolers/kindergartners. The first 3 episodes are ready to go. Be the first to share them with the curious child in your life!

Friday, November 22, 2013


Thanksgiving is coming next week. Do you have your turkey ready?

Here are some of our favorite Thanksgiving related books: Little Lessons Thanksgiving Books

And Thanksgiving signs:

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Sign of the Week - Grass 今週の手話は「grass」です。

This week the Sign of the Week from Signing Time is "grass"! 今週の手話は「grass」です。

 Children of all ages are interested in understanding the world around them so having signs such as "wind" "sun" and "grass" can help them to tell you what they are seeing and thinking about!

 Here are some videos from Two Little Hands where you can learn other signs to go with "grass":
Baby Signing Time Vol. 3 A New Day 
Series 2 Vol. 5 Going Outside 

Books for practicing the sign for "wind":
What Do You See Outside? (Baby Signing Time!) By Emilie De Azevedo Brown
Going Out from Child's Play

Take a walk, practice signing what you see.
Here are some of the things we found on a Outside Signs walk in a recent BST class.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Family Signs 家族のサイン

Family Signs ファミリーのサイン

おすすめ TOLO Dolls
Look these up in the Signing Time Dictionary online or Signing Savvy

Family 家族
Father お父さん
Mother お母さん
Baby 赤ちゃん
Sister お姉さん、妹さん
Brother お兄さん、弟さん
Grandma お祖母さん
Grandpa  お祖父さん
Great Grandma ひい
Great Grandpa ひい
Aunt   伯母さん
Uncle 伯父さん
Cousin いとこ

Songs with family signs:
Mom Has a Mom
~ Baby Signing Time Vol. 1 Mom Has A Mom ~

In a House
~ Signing Time Series 1 Vol. 4 Family, Feelings, Fun ~

家族のサイン練習にぴったりの絵本 Books for Practicing Family Signs

Monday, October 7, 2013

Reading with Your Little One

Reading and books play an important role in the development of our children.  
Here are some ideas to get you started with reading: 

プレママに Before Birth
Even before they are babies can recognize a mother's voice and hear when a book is read aloud to them.  Some studies show that after reading the same book repeatedly before birth it is recognized by a newborn after birth. Look for books which have an interesting rhythm. Dr. Seuss works great!
While it may seem strange to start signing with your baby at this stage it is a good time to learn signs at a relaxed pace and start getting into the habit of signing, particularly when reading a book
Suggested books:  
One Fish, Two Fish
Hop on Pop
Green Eggs and Ham

新生児 Newborn
As newborns wake up to the world they are very interested in many things but are limited by the development of their bodies.  During the first few months black/white patterns are particularly interesting as their vision improves.  They also are great listeners so talk, sing and read to them.  This is a great time to start signing the words you know when you come across them in a book.
Suggested books:
Books to look at - Black & White
Songs that are books - Classic Books With Holes - Wheels on the Bus

赤ちゃん Infants
Around 6 months old a child's vision becomes clear enough to enjoy various pictures.  It is a good time to introduce books with photographs.  To avoid overwhelming the baby choose a book which has just one clear picture on each page. 
As a baby nears 1 year old there is a time of interest in textures.  During this time touchy-feely books can be great fun.  
Babies at this stage also benefit from seeing signing while being read to .  It will help them to learn new signs, their meaning and when to use the signs.
Suggested books:
Baby Signing Time Board Books
Global Babies
Touch and Feel set

乳幼児 Toddlers
As babies begin walking and become toddlers their areas of interest increase greatly.  They become more aware of seasons, day/night, weather etc.  Through books we can introduce and explain many of these ideas.  They also strive for independence so it is good to have books which a toddlers can "read" (look at) alone in a place the toddler can reach. 
Suggested Books
Baby Signing Time Board Books
Down by the Station
Maisy's Wonderful Weather Book

幼稚園生 Preschooler
Reading with a preschooler can be a great way to answer some of their never-ending questions.  At this age they are often interested in a wide variety of books.  Reading together, pointing out the words as you read, can help to develop an understanding on phonics and phonemics which is a key part to learning to read independently.
Suggested books:
Cat in the Hat Learning Library
Chika Chika Boom Boom

読み始まったら Beginner Readers
During this time many children begin to read on their own.  While there are many ways to encourage reading and each child will go at a different pace there are a few key things you can do for any child and with any system:
 - Have easy books available. Children need something to practice with that is at their level.  The "I Can Read" and BOB Books series are popular the US.
 - At this stage a child's comprehension of words usually exceeds his ability to read. Developing good listening skills is also a part of reading. This is a good time to introduce short chapter books read by an adult.
Suggested books
BOB Books
Little House in the Big Woods

一人で読めるようになったら Reading +
Once kids have started reading a bit on their own it is important to continue making time to practice.  Some families have the kids read to mom while she makes supper. Others set aside some family reading time before bedtime.  Make reading a daily activity and keep it interesting by having great books on hand!
Caldecott Medal Books
Newbery Medal Books
Reading Rainbow Books 

For more reading: 
Benefits of reading before birth
Children's vision development: http://www.childrensvision.com/development.htm

Saturday, August 24, 2013

On the Book Shelf...

During our summer vacation trip to my parent's house I came across this book on the bookshelf. It is a reminder that American Sign Language is a normal part of life, something which can also be a very helpful part of life, for many families.
This book shows the ASL alphabet with a picture of an animal whose name begins with the letter being signed. It is another great resource for interactive reading and a fun way to learn the sounds letters make!

Handsigns: A Sign Language Alphabet by Kathleen Fain http://amzn.com/0811811964


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Signing at the Aquarium 水族館でサインと英語

Earlier this week we had our parent/child field trip to the Tokyo Sea Life Park aquarium. It was a great chance to see various sea creatures up close and learn to say and sign their names! The colorful fish and and nominees also gave us a chance to practice color signs.
Here are some of the things we saw:
We also read this book. この本も読んだ.
In preparing for this field trip I came across some helpful pages and printouts. My kids love the printables on the Sea World page.
準備をしていた間にいろんなページとプリントを見つけた。私の子どもたちはSea World のプリントを気に入れました。
On the field trip page there are links to other resources and books.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Support a good cause!

Part of my summer "homeschool" for my kids includes picking it a few DVDs on topics we're studying. However, it can be hard to find something with enough educational value to have it add to their learning. In our situation especially it is important for them to hear about the study topic in English from a native speaker other than me.
For years we have enjoyed the Signing Time DVDs and not too long ago when Rachel and the Treeschoolers came out we all got really excited! Treeschoolers comes with activities you can do beyond watching the DVD and covers a large amount of material in 30 minutes.
Two Little Hands, the company which makes Rachel and the Treeschoolers, has been looking to get the show picked up by a TV network but they've been repeatedly told that the show is too educational for TV. Does that make sense? It is entertaining, fun and educational. If you are going to let your kids watch TV why not watch something useful?
To try and bring the rest of the Treeschoolers episodes to market they have started a Kickstarter fundraising campaign. Basically this allows us, the consumers, to have a direct hand in the creating of a wonderful educational series. Lending your support through pledging is risk-free. If you make a pledge and they don't raise enough money to support the current project then your money is not collected. If they do raise enough money your pledge is accepted and you will receive a return gift of your choosing.... Such as a copy of the new DVDs.
Why not hop on over to Kickstarter and take a look?

Friday, July 19, 2013

Sign of the Week - The Letter "S" 今週の手話は「s」です。

Sign of the Week - The Letter "S"  今週の手話は「s」です。

The abc signs are for so much more than just fingerspelling names!  Letter hand shapes can often be found in signs. ABCのサインはスペル以外のときに使えます。"s"の手の形は色んなサインにあります。

Ok, so you may be wondering how and when to use the sign for the letter "s"... here are a few ideas!
shoes くつ 靴           silver ぎん 銀          Saturday どようび 土曜日

Books for practicing the sign "s"

Want to learn more?  Here are recommended products:
ABC Signs Flashcards
ABC Signs Board Book

Don't forget to check out the other items in the Kotoba & Sign Store as well!

ABC Signs について
There are many great benefits of using fingerspelling with kids but if they aren't explained parents may not know about them.
- learning to fingerspell is a big step towards being able to read/write English.
- initialised signs (those which use the first letter of the word the sign represents) provide an easy step into phonics.

example - kid doing a matching worksheet where matching the color to the written word - signing the color (which often includes the first letter of the word) can provide key phonetic clues.

- for kids who are a little bit farther along and starting to read fingerselling can be used to help learn/remember new words and learn the spellings of some of the trickier words.  Read - sign - write.

The ABC Song not only teaches the letters in the alphabet but is also provides words that start with the common phonetic sounds of each letter.

When I was teaching English one of the biggest challenges for the kids was making the transition from listening/speaking to reading/writing.  Many English texts assume that kids can read at about 1st grade but they don't go through the phonics and teaching kids how to learn to read.  This is a challenge for native speakers as well.
In the Signing Time series in addition to using some initialised signs and teaching the alphabet, the spelling of the key words always appears on the screen along with the sign.

Signing can help kids to learn sight words faster.

Why Sign with Babies?

New parents often wonder about the benefits of signing with babies.
Experienced parents sometimes question it.
Strangers may question you when they see you signing with your child.

Here are some links to look at to learn more about the benefits of signing with infants/toddlers/preschoolers:

Two Little Hands: Sign Language Research
Signing Time: Baby signing hits mainstream, book published by AAP touts benefits

Friday, July 12, 2013

Sign of the Week 今週の手話 Wind 風

This week the Sign of the Week from Signing Time is "wind"! 今週の手話は「」です。

 Children of all ages are interested in understanding the world around them so having signs such as "wind" "sun", "cloud" and "moon" can help them to tell you what they are seeing and thinking about!

 Here are some videos from Two Little Hands where you can learn other signs to go with "wind":
Baby Signing Time Vol. 3 A New Day 
Series 2 Vol. 5 Going Outside 

Books for practicing the sign for "wind":
What Do You See Outside? (Baby Signing Time!) By Emilie De Azevedo Brown
Going Out from Child's Play
Maisy's Wonderful Weather Book by Lucy Cousins

親子工作 Would you like to do a wind craft?  Here is a Hand-y Craft Windsock with downloadable instructions.  Looks like a fun summer project!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Bathing Baby Dolls

In the Takenotsuka class this week we learned the signs for taking a bath and getting ready for bed. We practiced the signs by bathing, dressing and tucking baby dolls into bed. We even read/signed them a bedtime story!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Sign Of The Week 今週の手話 Sun お日様

The Sign of the Week this week is sun.

Infants and toddlers are very interested in the world around them so having signs such as "sun", "cloud" and "moon" can help them to tell you what they are seeing and thinking about!

Here are some videos from Two Little Hands where you can learn other signs to go with "sun"!
Baby Signing Time Vol. 3 A New Day
Series 2 Vol. 5 Going Outside
Rachel and the TreeSchoolers: A Rainy Day

Books for practicing the sign for "sun":

What Do You See Outside? (Baby Signing Time!)  By Emilie De Azevedo Brown (Available from Heidi)

Itsy Bitsy Spider from Child's Play
Going Out from Child's Play

And, to wrap this up, here is a clip of my toddler using the sign "sun" while looking at pictures of the eclipse we watched earlier that day.  Without signing we probably wouldn't have known that she understood what was happening during the eclipse!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

July Events 7月のイベント

July Events 7月の予定

In July we have some special events coming up with Kotoba & Sign and Hana House!

July 10th - Potty Time Workshop - Takenotsuka
July 17th - Play Group  - Takenotsuka
July 26th - Potty Time Workshop - Hana House
July 26th - Play Group - Hana House
July 30th - Field Trip to Tokyo Sea Life Park

サインで遊ぼうPlay Group

Theme: Colors and Toys  色とおもちゃ

Play Group is a seasonal event, a chance to gather with other signing families.

Who is Play Group for? どなたが参加することができますか?


Baby Signing Time students and graduates will learn signs not covered in the regular course.
Those who are interested in signing with their child will get a chance to see how other children are able to communicate both with sign language and Japanese/English.
Families who have studied on their own or in a class elsewhere are welcome to come and enjoy spending time with other ASL-based signers.

Takenotsuka in Adachi-ku 足立区 竹の塚
7月17日 July 17th 11:00-11:50 AM

At Hana House in Suginami-ku 杉並区 ハナハウスで:
金曜日 7月26日 July 26th 11:40-12:30 

Potty Time Workshop  トイレトレーニング・ワークショップ

Join us for a 1-hour introduction to the Potty Time Program and learn how you can make potty training easier for you and more fun for your child. Potty Time works for children ages 0-5 and supports any potty training method you choose. 
Signing Timeを使ったトイレトレーニングセミナーです。まだ言葉が上手でないお子さんでも、サインを使いながら楽しく、ストレスなくオムツを卒業できるようになります。ぜひご参加ください。

Takenotsuka in Adachi-ku 足立区 竹の塚
7月10日 July 10th 11:00-11:50 AM

At Hana House in Suginami-ku 杉並区 ハナハウスで:
金曜日 7月26日 July 26th 10:30-11:20 

Field Trip to Tokyo Sea Life Park

Please join us at Tokyo Sea Life Park on July 30th for our parent/child Field Trip.

☆ Theme: Sea Life Signs and English for an aquarium visit
☆ Participants: Parents/Guardian and child are 0 - 5 years old
☆ Cost: Price of admission - please purchase your own ticket.

More details coming soon!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Sign Of The Week 今週の手話

The Sign of the Week this week is bike! 今週の手話は「自転車」です。

At our house we also use this sign for bicycle, tricycle and unicycle. 家では、一輪車、三輪車のこともこのサインを使ってます。

ママのひみつ: Here's another "mommy hint" that I've discovered - kids, even infants, like to know what is going on.  They want to know where we are going and how we are getting there.  The sign "bike" can be used to help explain the plan for the day in simple terms.  An example "We will ride mommy's bike to the store and then come home to eat lunch". Using the sign for "bike" in this natural setting not only helps your child to learn that the word and sign have the same meaning but also gives your child another way to communicate the word "bike" to you when she is ready.   

Take a look at this dictionary for beginners to learn signs for other things you do each day!

Books for practicing the sign for "bike" as well as other forms of transportation:
Small World: Away We Go
Bears on Wheels

Here is a clip from when my daughter was 15 months old.  At this age many kids can make noises but have fewer than 10 spoken words. In this video she uses 7 signs, 3 for words that she was not able to clearly pronounce until a year later (bicycle, airplane, motor cycle).  An additional benefit we enjoyed was that she could play with her older brother, using signs, clearly expressing which toys she wanted to use.  As a mom this was wonderful to see!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

親子遠足 Signing Field Trip in July

We are in the process of putting together another special field trip!
Please check back for details over the next week!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

今週の手話 Sign of the Week

Shhh... I'm going to tell you a parenting secret... し〜っ、母親の秘密を教えてあげたい〜
Bubbles are great!
○ My mom once suggested keeping them in my diaper bag for when we stop at a park or waiting outside with cranky kids. 私のお母さんがママバッグにいつもシャボン玉を入れた方がいいと教えてくれた。なぜかというと、公園に寄ってくるときや赤ちゃんがイライラしてるから外で待つ時にそれを出すと赤ちゃんは喜ぶから。
○○ During rainy season on days we can't play outside we blow bubbles in the bathroom and try to catch them.
○○○ Bubbles are also one of the activities we enjoy on the last day of the Advanced Class when the babies/toddlers graduate from the Baby Signing Time class! アドバンスクラスの最後のレッスン、卒業のお祝いにも使えます。
The sign of the week this week is... 今週の手話は...
You guessed it... BUBBLES シャボン玉!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Bugs, Bugs, Bugs!

This week is off week for Hana House Baby Signing Time classes. Next week will be Takenotsuka's off week.
今週のハナハウスのベビー・サイニングタイム・クラスはoff weekでした。来週は竹の塚のoff weekになります。
At Hana House last week we had our "Bugs Stop, Bugs Go" lesson. We searched for bugs, pretended to be bugs and practiced stopping and going like bugs!
Here are some helpful bug signs for the summer:
Mosquito 蚊
Fly ハエ
Beetle カブトムシ
Bee ハチ
Spider クモ
Ladybug てんとう虫
クラスに人気のItsy Bitsy Spider絵本のリンクはこちらにあります。Here's the Sign & SingAlong Itsy Bitsy Spider book that we use in class!
それと、歌のクリップを楽しんでください!And, for your viewing pleasure... A fun spin to the Itsy Bitsy Spider song from Rachel and the Treeschoolers!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day 父の日

Happy Father's Day!

Faher's Day isn't just about your own father, not everyone has one, but also about acknowledging the influential and inspiring men in your life.  They are "Father Figures"so we take a few minutes today to thank them for all that they do!

For your eading pleasure:
"Changing, bathing, dressing, feeding, holding and playing with the baby are means to a good communication between a father and a child. While talking to an infant, using signs, or even using sign language, may help the bonding and the baby’s mental development."

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Class Helper

One of the great things about my Baby Signing Time classes is that families can attend together.  Older siblings can help and be a great signing example for the younger babies.
This is one of my special helpers getting the Baa Baa Black Sheep book ready!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

おすすめDVD Move and Groove

☆  Stuck inside because of rainy season? Check out Move and Grove 

Rainy season has started in Japan. This time of year we have many days when we can't go to the park to play and since our houses are small it is difficult to burn off extra energy when playing inside. Signing Time has a DVD that is perfect for the rainy days!
Today I'd like to introduce you to Signing Time Series 2 Move and Grove.
While not planned as an exercise DVD my kids turn it into one by acting out the various actions words/signs that are taught. After dancing around for 25 minutes the kids get tired and they've learned a few things in the process!
Like the other Series 2 DVDs there "breaks" for learning ABCs, numbers etc. included in the show. Each DVD also focuses on learning a song from start to finish with the last part of the show including the song for the episode in its entirety. This gives kids a real feeling of accomplishment when they can learn to sign and dance a full song!
My 5 yr oldies pretty good at following along with the DVD. The 2 yr. old turned to me after a few minutes and said "My exercising!" After which she started her own exercise routine in addition to the song.
We don't really have space for somersaults, which she discovered pretty quickly!

Here is are two previews of Signing Time Series 2 Move and Grove

Monday, June 3, 2013

Two Little Hands $10 DVD Sale!

Biggest sale of the year on Two Little Hands DVDs On Mon-Wed. (US Time) this week! 
All DVDs and DVD/CD combos are $10. 
 Limit 2 of each kind... but with so many DVDs to choose from you can still end up buying over 60 DVDs!

Have some children's birthdays's coming and want to get a great gift? 

☆ For a preschooler try Rachel and the Treeschoolers

☆ Baby? How about Baby Signing Time

☆  Child headed for 1st grade? Look at the ABCs and Practice Time DVDs for a multisensory and fun start to phonics and sight words. 

☆  Potty Training while the summer is hot? Potty Time can help make it fun for everyone! 

☆  Stuck inside because of rainy season? Check out Move and Grove

With so many choices there is somethign for every kid! Don't be overwhelmed by the choices - ask (e-mail is ok!) and I'll share some suggestions! Here's your link to get to the sale!

While you're thinking of gifts why not pair a DVD with a board book or flashcards to keep the learning going?

Teachers, homeschoolers, parents, grandparents... there are plenty of other resources and ideas on the Two Little Hands homepage so why not take a look around?

Rachel even made a video to share about the sale!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

DVD of the Week 今週のおすすめDVD - Time To Eat

This week I'd like to introduce you to the Signing Time Vol. 12 DVD Time to Eat.  It is a great option for building on the vocabulary learned in a Baby Signing Time ☆ Sign and Play ☆ Class.  This DVD also builds on vocabulary covered in the Baby Signing Time Vol. 1 materials and the Signing Time Vol. 3 Everyday Signs materials. 

Vocabulary covered in the Time To Eat DVD includes a number of food signs and words that are helpful to know in the preparing of food.  The songs touch on topics such as food growing in the garden and cooking in the kitchen.  A particular favorite of ours is the "Set the Table" song.

As part of learning about their world children enjoy exploring items from daily life.  Infants and toddlers enjoy practicing cutting and cooking toy food.  Preschoolers and Elementary aged kids can help with preparing various foods.  With the help of the song "Set the Table " kids can help by setting the table at mealtimes.

A special bonus for those who are familiar with the Silly Pizza Song (From the Everyday Signs DVD) is the Silly Pizza II song.  If you thought the first one was challenging this one doubles the challenge!  If you master either of the Silly Pizza songs please send me the video!!!!

Here is a clip of the Time to Eat DVD:

Monday, May 20, 2013

Zoo Wrap-Up

We had a wonderful trip to Ueno Zoo this week!  Thank you to everyone who came with us!

For those who didn't come along I'll post some resources you can use on your next visit to the zoo or when reading about a zoo.

We started the day with a group who met at the gate at 10 AM. Our early group enjoyed visiting the large birds, lions, gorillas and bears.
We learned that the lion with a little hair is the Mommy and the lion with the big hair is the Daddy! 

We were able to watch the Polar Bear eat fish, swim and play with a ball.

At 11:30 we had our 2nd meeting time for those who wished to join us from lunch.  We enjoyed taking a break in the shade while watching the monkeys near by. Although we didn't have a proper lesson, we did have a chance to review a few signs using the book Peek-A-Moo before heading to the petting zoo.

 Checking out the map to see where we've been and where we're going.

Our lovely group - 17 adults and 16 1/2 babies/toddlers

After eating we walked to the other side of the park to the children's petting zoo area which features farm animals.  Here is a link to an Hand-y Craft Animal Memory Game you can download and make at home.

 Guess who found the rabbits!

For most of the kids it was the first chance to pet a goat.  

Look!  The goats and pigs eat grass!

Throughout the day we were able to see what many of the animals eat.  It was wonderful to see how many of out little signers were making connections between the things we're learned in class (eat, yummy, apple, banana etc.) and the real animals eating real food.

Can you guess which animal we are looking at now?

 We had an up close look at the giraffes eating leaves for their lunch!

 When we have play group we often use the Classroom Edition curriculum which includes printable flashcards that you can color in and laminate at home.  This little girl has her set of cards hooked to the stroller to "read" on the train and look at as we explored the zoo.

After wandering together for a few hours about half of the kids were asleep in their strollers so we parted ways at 2PM.  A few of us went on to visit the reptiles before heading home.

Baby M had her first experience with live turtles.  It was so much fun to watch her face light up as she saw how they moved!  Even a child just turning 1 can enjoy the zoo :-)

For more zoo book ideas please visit the Kotoba & Sign Amazon.co.jp store!

Again, thank you to everyone who joined us for this first サインで遊ぼう Sign & Play Group Field Trip!  We're hoping to have another one at the end of July (2013), possibly to a Tokyo area aquarium!  Please check this blog or follows us on Twitter or Facebook for details!  For those who can't join us I'll still post resources on here that you can use for your own future adventures :-)

Here are blog posts from some of the other participants:
Diary of a Mommy Photographer

DVD of the Week 今週のおすすめDVD

There are many wonderful Signing Time DVDs as well as others that are ASL based. This series of posts will introduce a different DVD each week and provide ideas for extension activities that you can do at home!
Recently my daughter (2 years 8 months) has been really interested in the letters "t", "n" and "m". Not only are the signs similar, the sounds of "n" and "m" are similar as well. After a couple of weeks of asking about those 3 letters she's moved on to wanting to know the first letter of people's names.
When my son ws that age I hadn't introduced the manual alphabet (fingerspelling) yet so I wonder if perhaps I missed out on his first interest in the alphabet?
In the signing time series the alphabet, finger spelling and letter sounds are introduced in Series 1 DVD 5. Basic phonetics are included throughout the series as many signs include a letter that connects to the spoken English word (example: water, restaurant, shoe). When a child connects the letter and the sound it makes it is a step towards being able to read the language.
Finger spelling and initialized signs can also help develop phonemic awareness which is key in gaining fluency in a language.
This week's suggested DVD is....
Practice Time ABCs

My kids (2 and 5) volunteered to watch the DVD and give their honest opinion. Even though I teach Signing Time classes and own the complete series we do not watch the DVDs every day. It has been a while since we watched the Practice Time DVDs that they don't remember watching it.
I think this DVD appeals best to kids who area bit older than mine or interested in ABCs and reading more than my kids are right now.
The DVD starts out with a lesson on how to sign the ABCs. While we already know the manual alphabet thekidsstill enjoyed signing along. After learning the basics the DVD uses a series of progressive quizzes to review the manual alphabet and move into finger spelling. The DVD is created to mix up the quiz questions each time you watch so you aren't seeing the same questions every time.
In the first round of practicing Rachel signs a letter and we guessed what it was. My 2 yr old answered mostofthese correctly - which really surprised me! She even added reasons like "That's "g" like green". The second round of practice quizzes showed the the letter and it was our job to show the sign. Wile this was a bit tougher for my 2 yr old, my 5 yr old washable to do it easily.
The practice activities after the first two rounds introduced basic finger spelling. This is where the kids lost interest quickly. For the 2 yr.old it was when "mom" was spelled with an "m" first. In her mind it starts with "h" since my name starts with "h". Once she saw Rachel "make a mistake" went to play someplace else.
My son hung in there a bit longer but he isn't used to finger spelling words with 4 letters so he stopped participating but kept watching as the practice levels became more challenging. He went off to play at about the 5th level.
As someone who is a notoriously bad speller I could probably benefit from a more advanced Practice Time DVD. Like learning piano or how to write, it takes time for finger spelling to become smooth and to be able to read what someone else is spelling. This DVD is a great tool for kids and adults alike to take their first steps into finger spelling. It also can be used in conjunction with teaching a child to write and read as it reinforces letter sounds and order.
Here's a preview from the DVD ABCs
Here's the link to the Two Little Hands stores Practice Time ABCs page
Related Activities
- Use the ABC flashcards to quiz each other showing the sign side first, then the letter.
- Play a word game where one person says a word and the other person guess what letter it starts with and gives the appropriate letter sign.
- Fingerspell common words seen around the house - like "tea" on the tea box.
- play a silent game of "I Spy with my Little Eye" when traveling by train or waiting in line. Look around for a letter, sign it and the color of the letter, give the other person a chance to find it.
- Use finger spelling to practice for a spelling test.
- Help sound out words by signing the letters and saying the sounds.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Zoo Signs at Home

This week we had the 2nd サインで遊ぼう Sign and Play Group with the Zoo Signs theme.  
As we prepare for the the upcoming fiield trip to Ueno Zoo we're enjoying many zoo themed books and toys!  Here are a few books to get you started: Play Group Books サインで遊ぼうの本

Want to join us on the trip to Ueno Zoo?  Here is the information.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

May 2013 Schedule 5月の予定

Can you believe it is May already? The saying "April showers bring May flowers" applies to Tokyo this year as there are flowers blooming everywhere! It is a great time to take your little one for a walk and smell the various kinds of flowers!
Here is what we have coming up in May:
Adachi-ku, Takenotsuka
May 1st
Baby English 10:00 ~ Animals
May 8th
Baby English 10:00 ~ Animals
サインで遊ぼう Play Group - Zoo Signs 11:00 ~
May 15th
Baby English 10:00 ~ Animals
Baby Signing Time Basic Class 11:00 ~ Pets I Love
May 21st
May 22nd
Baby English 10:00 ~ Animals
Baby Signing Time Basic Class 11:00 ~ Family
May 29th
Baby English 10:00 ~ Animals
Baby Signing Time Basic Class 11:00 ~ Clothing
Suginami-ku, Hana House
May 7th
Baby Signing Time Basic Class Trial Lesson 11:40-12:30
May 14th
Baby Signing Time Advanced Class 10:30 ~ Day and Night
Baby Signing Time Basic Class Trial Lesson 11:40-12:30
May 21st
May 28th
Baby Signing Time Advanced Class 10:30 ~ Outside
Baby Signing Time Basic Class 11:40 ~ Eat & Drink