Similar to studying a foreign spoken language, learning how to sign is a skill that can be improved through practice. One of the most common sign languages used worldwide is American Sign Language (ASL). ASL is a vibrant language that opens doors to rich cultural experiences and promotes inclusivity in all kinds of environments.
In this guide, we highlight different sign language resources you can use for learning and teaching ASL.
ASL Resources for Students
Whether you’re a novice or looking to refine your signing skills, there’s a wealth of resources available to aid your ASL learning journey. Here are some top picks we carefully selected for your reference:
Dr. Bill Vicars, who is a deaf ASL teacher, created Lifeprint, making it a well-rounded source for learners. This resource is free and comprehensive, with learning materials including a dictionary, lessons, and quizzes.
Handspeak offers a blend of ASL lessons, a dictionary, and cultural information. The site’s interactive nature promotes active learning, making it an excellent choice for beginners and intermediate learners alike.
ASL University offers free lessons, where you can learn at your own pace. The curriculum is well-structured, making it easier for students to track their progress.
ASL Resources for Parents
Parents can maximize the many ASL resources that they can use at any time. These tools are likewise useful to teach themselves and, most especially, their Deaf children.
Signing Time takes a playful and engaging approach to teaching kids ASL. This is popular among parents since it uses music, animation, and real signing to keep children engaged.
ASL Kids is a free online resource that provides a video dictionary, games, and stories to make learning ASL enjoyable for children. They also offer a downloadable app for mobile and tablet devices.
ASL Resources for Teachers
Learners and aspiring ASL instructors can also make use of different online resources to enhance their ASL. Here are some of the most accessible ASL resources and tools found online.
ASL Teaching Resources
ASL Teaching Resources is an online platform that provides a plethora of resources, including flashcards, worksheets, and lesson plans that align with common core standards.
Sign It ASL
Sign It ASL offers a comprehensive curriculum for teaching ASL. The resource includes interactive lessons, quizzes, and practice exercises, making it a valuable tool for both classroom and online teachers.
More ASL Resources
The digital age offers numerous online ASL resources. These platforms allow students to learn at their own pace and in their own space:
Start ASL offers three levels of ASL classes: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. The lessons are text-based and include video demonstrations, making it easier for students to grasp basic concepts.
Gallaudet University ASL Connect
Gallaudet University is renowned for its deaf education programs. Their ASL Connect platform provides online courses, tutorials, and resources for learners at different stages.
ASL Pro is a free online resource with a comprehensive sign language dictionary, lessons, quizzes, and conversational phrases.
Stay tuned for the remaining part of this guide, where we’ll delve into more ASL resources and provide useful tips on how to make the most of your ASL learning journey.
The ASL App
The ASL App is an excellent resource for learning sign language. This mobile application provides over 2000 signs, all demonstrated by Deaf ASL users. It includes several categories and lessons, which makes it an accessible platform for learners of all levels.
Marlee Signs is an app developed by Marlee Matlin, a renowned Deaf actress. The app provides step-by-step video lessons to make it more convenient for both beginners and experienced signers.
SignSchool is an online platform that offers a wide variety of learning materials, including a sign language dictionary, lessons, and quizzes. It also has a custom practice section where you can tailor your learning according to your needs.
ASL Books and Print Resources
While online ASL resources and apps come in handy, some learners prefer traditional print resources. Here are a few top picks tailored just for you:
“Learning American Sign Language”
This book by Tom Humphries and Carol Padden serves as a superb introduction to ASL. It covers clear illustrations, drills, and exercises for practice.
“The American Sign Language Phrase Book”
This book by Lou Fant and Barbara Bernstein Fant is a great resource for learning common ASL phrases, including over 500 phrases and a DVD for visual learning.
“Signing Naturally” is a series of books that offer a comprehensive curriculum for learning AS that is widely used in ASL classrooms and includes various exercises and activities to reinforce learning.
ASL YouTube Channels
Dr. Bill Vicars, the creator of Lifeprint, also runs his own YouTube channel that reinforces the lessons on his website. His channel is especially useful for those who prefer visual learning.
ASL Rochelle is an ASL instructor who posts comprehensive sign language tutorials and lessons on her channel. Her videos are engaging and easy to follow, making them suitable for learners of all levels.
Sign Duo is a YouTube channel run by a Deaf and hearing couple. Their videos provide insights into Deaf culture and everyday sign language use, making them a fun and educational resource.
Aside from the resources mentioned above, there are several organizations that provide valuable information and resources for ASL learners and educators. These include:
National Association of the Deaf (NAD)
The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) is a leading advocate for the rights of the Deaf and hard-of-hearing, which include where to find sign language classes and certified interpreters.
Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID)
The Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) is a national organization that aims to ensure excellence in the delivery of interpretation and transliteration services. Their website provides resources for learning ASL and information about the profession of ASL interpreting.
Making the Most of Your ASL Learning Journey
As you navigate your ASL learning journey, here are some additional reminders to make the most of your lessons:
- Practice Regularly: Like any language, becoming fluent in ASL requires regular practice. Make it a habit to practice signing every day.
- Engage with the Deaf Community: Engaging with the Deaf community is a great way to practice your signing skills and learn about Deaf culture. This can also help you learn conversational ASL, which can be extremely beneficial, especially for those who wish to teach ASL.
- Use a Variety of Resources: Utilize a combination of resources to improve your signing skills. This could include a mix of online resources, an ASL dictionary, books, apps, and real-world practice.
Whether you’re a student seeking to learn ASL, a parent supporting your child’s learning, or a teacher seeking reliable teaching resources, this guide provides a comprehensive list to kickstart your journey.
Apart from the useful resources mentioned, online applications like Ava.me can be used to accommodate Deaf or hard-of-hearing students through its state-of-the-art caption feature. This enables every child to participate in study groups and other events inside the school.
ASL is a beautiful, expressive language that offers a unique way to communicate and connect with the Deaf community. The objective is not just to learn sign language but, more importantly, to embrace a culture, promote inclusivity, and advocate for accessibility. With the plethora of resources available, there’s never been a better time to start learning.