Practice Makes Perfect : Summer Signing Suggestions
By Elaine Ernst Schneider
So, you’ve been learning to sign and now everyone’s schedule turns topsy-turvy for the summer! No more classes. No more people to practice your signs with! You don’t want to just forget about signing for the summer, though! Like anything, the more you use what you know, the more you will retain in long-term memory.
Here are some suggestions for summer signing:
1. Get a signing dictionary. There are two great choices that can be found at the left of this page. Then use the dictionary to make up a skit in signs. Step to your left when you sign as one character and then step to your right to represent a second character in your skit. Perform the skit for someone using both voice and signs.
2. Sign to yourself in the mirror. Get a good feeling for how it looks “in reverse.”
3. Watch the movie Helen Keller and try to read the signs. Turn the volume down and rely only on your eyes both to lip-read and read the signs of the character Anne Sullivan and others. If you can’t catch Helen Keller on television, you can buy the Patty Duke version.
4. Sign to songs either on CD’s or on the radio. Remember that when you sign music, you convey thoughts, not individual words. Make your movements musical. Practice showing the emotion of the music in your facial expressions. Perform your song in front of the mirror and then for someone else.
5. Read other books. Here is one suggestion:
Signing for Kids by Mickey Flodin
6. Practice with signing vocabulary cards. There are a number of sets that can be purchased separately in our Lesson Tutor Store: Basic, Baby, Baby TOO! and Survival Signs, as well as Seasons’ Signs and Activities
7. Take your sign dictionary with you on summer trips. As you play “I Spy,” or pass interesting landmarks, look up the corresponding sign in your dictionary. Then, each time you pass that landmark again, try to remember the sign.
Have a wonderful summer and remember: KEEP SIGNING!