SIMPLE SIGNS

First Words in American Sign Language

WHY SIMPLE SIGNS ARE FOR ALL KIDS

When our children are little, they can get easily frustrated when they can’t communicate with us. 

SIMPLE SIGNS give us another way to connect and communicate with our children early on so they feel even more connected and understood.

Studies show that SIMPLE SIGNS can boost overall language capacity, including speech, and early learning, strengthen bonds and also help curtail the “terrible twos.”

Meet Sara Novic, our SIMPLE SIGNS advisor

Sara is a best-selling novelist and an instructor in deaf studies and creative writing. She is a deaf rights activist and has written about deaf culture for the New York Times, Slate, CNN, and the Washington Post. 

Her novel True Biz was named as the 2024 ONE BOOK, ONE PHILADELPHIA selection by the Free Library. 

Thank you for taking the time to complete this short survey on SIMPLE SIGNS.

Families, what you share
can help us improve our work.

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Thank you for taking this survey.

The first 100 families to complete this survey—before and after you try SIMPLE SIGNS, and then one more time at the end of the summer—will receive a $10 Amazon gift card by email (one per family).

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FAMILIES,
WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU

BEFORE YOU WATCH THESE VIDEOS, please take this short survey of just six questions.

The first 100 families to complete this survey twice—early in the summer and then once again later in the summer—will receive a $10 Amazon gift card by email (one per family).
TAKE SURVEY
BEFORE YOU WATCH THESE VIDEOS, please take this short survey of just six questions.

The first 100 families to complete this survey—before and after you try SIMPLE SIGNS, and then one more time at the end of the summer—will receive a $10 Amazon gift card by email (one per family).
Get notified when we update these videos with ones created with Philly families.

SIMPLE SIGNS VIDEOS

We don’t need to worry about getting SIMPLE SIGNS perfect at first. We just have to keep up the playful learning, remembering playful learning takes two.
Get notified when we update these videos with ones created with Philly families.
SEVEN STARTER SIGNS

Family Things

FAMILY LOVE
Mom
Dad
Hug

Family Love

FAMILY MEALS
Eat
Drink
Milk

Family Meals

FAMILY ROUTINES

Family Routines

Bath
Diaper
Bed
Sleep
FAMILY FUN

Family Things

Book
Play
Music
All Done
FAMILY REQUESTS

Family Routines

Please
Help
Thank You
More

SEVEN STARTER 
SIMPLE SIGNS

SEVEN STARTER SIMPLE SIGNS

SEVEN STARTER 
SIMPLE SIGNS

Print these at home for easy practice.

HELPFUL TIPS

HELPFUL TIPS

Helpful Tips

Be Role Models

Try using SIMPLE SIGNS in everyday family activities. We want our children to see our hands in action.

Try using SIMPLE SIGNS while doing everyday family activities.

HELPFUL TIPS

Helpful Tips

Hand-Over-Hand

When starting out, try making a SIMPLE SIGN on your child’s body or with their hands to make learning easy, interactive and cuddle-friendly.

When starting out, try making a SIMPLE SIGN on your child’s body or with their hands to make learning easy, interactive and cuddle-friendly.

HELPFUL TIPS

Helpful Tips

Make It Snappy

Through SIMPLE SIGNS, our little ones can learn to use words instead of crying, whining or other behaviors to express frustration. Help them make the sign, then give them the requested item right away to show how magical SIMPLE SIGNS can be.

Through SIMPLE SIGNS, our little ones can learn to use words instead of crying, whining or other behaviors to express frustration.

Help them make the sign, then give them the requested item right away to show how magical SIMPLE SIGNS can be.

HELPFUL TIPS

Helpful Tips

Playfully Learn Together

Approximations are just fine for little hands! We don’t need to worry about getting everything right. We just have to keep up playful learning together.

Approximations are just fine for little hands!

We don’t need to worry about getting everything right. We just have to keep up playful learning together.

SIMPLE SIGNS
SUMMER CHALLENGE
SIMPLE SIGNS
SUMMER 
CHALLENGE
To reach more families, we seek creative video interpretations of SIMPLE SIGNS. No age limit! Winner awarded $250.
IDEAS TO EXPLORE
Sign on the Go.
Wherever the day takes you, show your signs (at the bus stop, through windows, across a room).

Rhyme for Right2Read. Create an ASL rhyme that includes SIMPLE SIGNS.

Storied Signs.
Make up a skit using SIMPLE SIGNS. Costumes not required. Playfulness encouraged.

Sign as a Superpower.
If you or a family member is deaf or hard-of-hearing, share a skit about the benefits of ASL or deaf identity.

Your Idea.
We welcome your creativity and spin on SIMPLE SIGNS.
SUBMISSION
Post your video on social media with the hashtag #Right2ReadPhilly and tag us @righttoreadphilly. Challenge ends August 31. Winner chosen at random.
IDEAS TO EXPLORE
Sign on the Go.
Wherever the day takes you, show your signs (at the bus stop, through windows, across a room).
Rhyme for Right2Read.
Create an ASL rhyme that includes SIMPLE SIGNS.
Storied Signs.
Make up a skit using SIMPLE SIGNS. Costumes not required. Playfulness encouraged.
Sign as a Superpower.
If you or a family member is deaf or hard-of-hearing, share a skit about the benefits of ASL or deaf identity.
Your Idea.
We welcome your creativity and spin on SIMPLE SIGNS.
SUBMISSION
Post your video on social media with the hashtag #Right2ReadPhilly and tag us @righttoreadphilly.
Challenge ends August 31. Winner chosen at random.
Follow us on social media for updates.

MORE FUN IDEAS

Baby Maestro

Sign “music” and turn on a favorite tune. Turn it off after a few seconds, then encourage your child to sign “music” to turn the music back on.

Remember, we can help them make the sign until they catch on to the game.

Sign in the Wild

The park, school, grocery store or library are great places to test our signing skills with our children.

Try SIMPLE SIGNS across a room, in a quiet zone, or even through a window!

Level Up

Are there words your family uses a lot? 

Look for the signs in an online ASL dictionary to add new words to your family’s routine.

MORE FUN IDEAS

Baby Maestro.

We can sign “music” and turn on a favorite tune, turn it off after a few seconds, then encourage our children to sign “music” to turn the music back on! Remember, we can help them make the sign until they catch on to the game.

Sign in the Wild.

At the park, school, grocery store or library, we can test our signing skills with our children by trying SIMPLE SIGNS across a room, in a quiet zone, or even through a window!

Level Up.

Is there a word your family uses a lot? Look for the sign in an online ASL dictionary and add it to your family’s routine.

SIMPLE SIGNS (and More)
for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children

SIMPLE SIGNS can be beneficial for all children, but especially for deaf and hard-of-hearing (D/HH) children. Providing them access to ASL as early as possible can help prevent real cognitive delays and even damage.

Battery Free

ASL can support early self-expression and family connection in young children before their bodies are physiologically ready for spoken language and while they are still learning to use assistive technology. 

Another bonus: ASL requires no batteries, is bathtime-friendly, and at your fingertips (pun intended) wherever you go.

Thrive Together

Learning a new language may seem overwhelming, but it can also be an opportunity to connect as a family. Parents, we don’t need to be fluent, or even have large vocabularies in ASL right away, to make a big difference in our child’s language growth. 

In multiple studies, hearing parents who started learning ASL alongside their D/HH infants provided them with age-appropriate vocabularies from infancy to kindergarten. 

Playing and practicing a few SIMPLE SIGNS a day is a great way to start.

More Is Better

Families don’t have to choose between spoken language or signed language. We can have both! 

In fact, research shows that children with cochlear implants who also had access to ASL performed better on academic and language assessments, including in spoken language, phonological memory and expressive grammar, than those who did not know sign language

Bilingualism is for everybody!

Knowledge Is Power

Looking for more information about language and D/HH children? 

Check out Language First, a group of speech language therapists who specialize in supporting kids with hearing loss. The American Society of Deaf Children is also a great resource.

The Next Step

Are SIMPLE SIGNS easy peasy for your family? Ready to dive into an ASL class? 

Check out the Deaf Hearing Communications Center for virtual and in-person classes in the Philly-area, and the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf’s community ASL classes, bilingual playgroup and parent support groups in Philly’s Germantown neighborhood. 

Scholarships are available for families with D/HH children.

SIMPLE SIGNS (and More)
for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children

Battery Free.

ASL can support early self-expression and family connection in young children before their bodies are physiologically ready for spoken language, and while they are still learning to use assistive technology. 

Another bonus: ASL requires no batteries, is bathtime-friendly, and at your fingertips (pun intended) wherever you go.

Thrive Together.

Learning a new language may seem overwhelming, but it can also be an opportunity to connect as a family. Parents, we don’t need to be fluent, or even have large vocabularies in ASL right away to make a big difference in our child’s language growth. 

In multiple studies, hearing parents who started learning ASL alongside their D/HH infants provided them with age-appropriate vocabularies from infancy to kindergarten

Playing and practicing a few SIMPLE SIGNS a day is a great way to start.

More Is Better.

Families don’t have to choose between spoken language or signed language. We can have both! In fact, research shows that children with cochlear implants who also had access to ASL performed better than those who didn’t know sign on academic and language assessments, including in spoken language, phonological memory and expressive grammar. Bilingualism is for everybody!

Knowledge Is Power.

Looking for more information about language and D/HH children? 

Check out Language First, a group of speech language therapists who specialize in supporting kids with hearing loss, and the American Society of Deaf Children for great resources.

The Next Step.

Are SIMPLE SIGNS easy peasy for your family? Ready to dive into an ASL class? 

Check out the Deaf Hearing Communications Center for virtual and in-person classes in the Philly-area, or the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf’s community ASL classes, bilingual playgroup and parent support groups in Philly’s Germantown neighborhood. 

Scholarships are available for families with D/HH children. 

STARTER SIMPLE SIGNS

STARTER SIMPLE SIGNS

STARTER 
SIMPLE SIGNS

Print these at home for easy practice.

Family Things

SIMPLE SIGNS
ASSETS

SIMPLE SIGNS RESOURCES

seven starter simple signs
Simple Signs Helpful Tips
Simple Signs Printout
Simple Signs Playbook

SEVEN STARTER SIMPLE SIGNS

SEVEN STARTER SIMPLE SIGNS

SEVEN STARTER 
SIMPLE SIGNS

Print these at home for easy practice.
SIGN ALONG
WITH PHILLY FAMILIES

Family Routines

WHAT FAMILIES ARE SAYING

“We see on a daily basis how our children’s brains are like little sponges. At this age, they pickup and learn everything. Why would anyone pass up the opportunity to take advantage of this time to teach a critical skill like SIMPLE SIGNS?”
Zamir Pannah
Southwest Philadelphia

WHAT FAMILIES ARE SAYING

“Start as early as possible to model signing. Let your children see you doing the motions. If your child is not doing the signs right away, keep going. Try showing them by moving their hands on their body. They may not start right away, but they will catch on.”
Starkiesha Mitchell
Southwest Philadelphia

WHAT FAMILIES ARE SAYING

“Children love talking, right? Let us be curious and join their language with SIMPLE SIGNS to learn what they are talking about.”
Ibukun Odunlami
Southwest Philadelphia

WHAT FAMILIES ARE SAYING

"Thank you for recognizing the value of the sign language piece. For little kids learning language, sign language is something they can run with."
Anna Hargrove
North Philadelphia

WHAT FAMILIES ARE SAYING

"I've been looking for someone to do sign language because my son is non-verbal so I wanted to teach him. I think this is a really good thing to teach the parents and definitely for those with children with autism disabilities."
Jasmine Taylor
North Philadelphia

WHAT FAMILIES ARE SAYING

“I think this campaign is great to get kids learning early so they will be ready to go to school.”
Kevin Kiett
Southwest Philadelphia

WHAT FAMILIES ARE SAYING

“This is beautiful. I'm from Philly and reside in S.C. I would love to see more disability awareness and sensitivity in my community. Continue to enrich the lives of the families you serve. You are doing AMAZING work.”
@mettalicbowgifts_2021

WHAT FAMILIES ARE SAYING

“We've been teaching our 6 mo baby signs like "milk" and "more" and "all done" and "read." He knows the sign for "mama," but we weren't sure about the sign for "mommy," — which matters because we're a two-mom household. @photonovic, what do you suggest — should we finger spell?”
@leighherenow_

WHAT FAMILIES ARE SAYING

“@righttoreadphilly, thanks for sharing!!”
@_chasebooks

WHAT FAMILIES ARE SAYING

“My dad would do the same thing for my sister and me: he'd invent stories about the animals he saw on his way to work, and he would teach us about the animals' behaviors along the way”
@starvoy8995

WHAT FAMILIES ARE SAYING

“Thanks for this! I was just thinking/wondering the other day about ASL users road to reading!”
@terrilrowan

WHAT FAMILIES ARE SAYING

“I absolutely love that book.”
@sissistrun