When I was at the International Toy Fair in New York City in February, I stopped in at Dolphin Books and was introduced to their new book on baby signs,  A First Guide to Baby Signing. I was impressed because it was authored by a professional who actually works with sign language, Katie Mayne, a teacher of the deaf.

Parents are increasingly interested in teaching sign language to their babies. Sign language provides babies with a way to communicate with hand movements long before their vocal mechanism is ready to say words. Allowing babies and toddlers to express their needs and wants earlier, relieves frustration and gives us a peek into their thoughts and desires.

The author’s expertise accounts for the simple but accurate information and inclusion of important tips such as making sure family members and care givers can recognize and use signs too since the purpose is to provide a means for your child to communicate. Her tip to keep background noise to a minimum correlates with research that says babies learn language better in a quiet environment, since they have a harder time distinguishing foreground and background sounds.

The yummy colors and kid-friendly graphics surround captivating pictures of babies and moms signing 44 basic words divided into ten categories from “starter signs” relating to your child’s basic needs of hunger and thirst, to “indoor”, “outdoor” and “evening” signs. The categories of signs as well as the sequence in which they are introduced are based on language learning while individual signs were chosen to link to earliest speech sounds and words spoken. Step-by-step photographs make learning easy and fun.

Grab this inviting  manual and start signing with your child. Your reward will be a gesture of “I love you” far before your child can say the words.