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Sign Language - Nursery Rhymes

Signing Mother Goose Tales

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Updated April 28, 2009

Mother Goose. Hickory Dickory Dock. Little Boy Blue. Little Bo Peep... all our childhood favorite nursery rhymes, in sign language.

Books of Signed Nursery Rhymes

A few books with nursery rhymes in sign language are available. These books are usually in signed English.
  • Nursery Rhymes from Mother Goose (in Signed English). Has at least 12 rhymes. (compare prices)
  • Mother Goose in Sign - an inexpensive paperback of five rhymes from Garlic Press. (compare prices)
Some key basic signs used in the nursery rhymes can be viewed on the web.

Videos of Signed Nursery Rhymes

Some videos of signed nursery rhymes are available in the United States, Canada, and in the United Kingdom.
  • United States
    • We Sign Rhymes - Mother Goose (also available as Say, Sing, and Sign Mother Goose in an earlier version) - from Production Associates and available through many web retailers. The Production Associates website includes a video clip.
  • Canada
    • The Ontario Cultural Society of the Deaf has an ASL-Parent-Child Mother Goose program, and has a kit that includes a video of the program.
  • United Kingdom
    • Sing a Song is a video from Hands Are For Talking with eleven nursery rhymes, for people in the United Kingdom.
    • Makaton Nursery Rhymes is another U.K. video, featuring Dave Benson of the BBC program "Playdays." It also has a companion book.
    • Yet another U.K. video is Sign and Sign, a baby signing video from SingandSign.com.

Research on Signed Nursery Rhymes

Signed nursery rhymes have also been the subject of some research articles. Christopher Miller, a professor at Gallaudet University in the Department of Linguistics, has written a few articles about sign language and nursery rhymes:
  • Volume 2, Issue 1 of Sign Language Studies has this article: "Movement and Rhythm in Nursery Rhymes in LSF," by Marion Blondel and Christopher Miller.
  • Blondel, M. and C. Miller (2002) "Rhythmic structure in French Sign Language (LSF) nursery rhymes", Sign Language and Linguistics 3:1, pp. 59-77.

Using Nursery Rhymes for Education

Nursery rhymes have also been found to have educational value in teaching deaf children, as noted in the following article:

Weintraub, L. (1984). "Once upon a time....Using fairy tales and nursery rhymes to develop pre-reading skills in children." Perspectives for Teachers of the Hearing Impaired, 3. 16-19.

Signwriting and Nursery Rhymes

The Signwriting.org website has one nursery rhyme written in signwriting, Humpty Dumpty.
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