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Keyword Signing Resources  This resource has been viewed by a moderator.

Early years skill:Any
Early years typical range:Any
P-scales/Curriculum skill:Any
P-scales/Curriculum level:Any
TAP skill:Any
TAP level:Any
Pre/Nat. Curriculum Area:not specified
Pre/Nat. Curiculum Standard:not specified
Section:Early Years (0-5yrs) info; Primary (5-11yrs) info
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Many of the activities on Commtap - especially the ones aimed at those communicating or understanding at three key words or less - can be enhanced if you use key word signs with them. These can benefit the learner by making it easier for them to pick up the spoken language, and by giving them an additional way they can communicate.

The following resources can make it easier for you to sign with children.



These books have the picture/word on one side and a diagram of the sign on the other side. You can face the picture side of the book to the child and the sign side towards you, and talk about the book to the child.

To start, you could go through the book signing to the child as you go, and giving them time to look at what is on the page. Over time, you could leave a long pause, and see if the child attempts to sign (or say the word). You can reinforce their attempts to sign by saying, for example, "Yes, it's an apple!" and sign "apple" when you say apple. If the child does not try to sign (even after waiting), you could say, for example, "Oh, an apple!" (signing "apple" when you say it), and then carry on to the next page (if the child has finished looking at it).

It's really important to not try to "make" the child say the word or produce the sign - this is just about never effective and will put the child off using the book. It's much better to give the child lots of time and space in which they could use the sign/word. It's also good to give the child a reason to sign/say the word in the first place - for example you can't see the word, or it looks like you have forgotten it.

Signalong Resource

Ruby's Signalong Adventures

These free to print stories include short sentences, and shows you diagrams for signs for key words.


These stories are beautifully printed on card which you slide in and out of a frame. Although they do not have signs on them, it keeps your hands free to sign while telling a story to a group or class of children. You could most probably attach diagrams of key signs to the back of the cards to remind you of signs to use when telling the stories.

Online sign dictionaries


Text-a-sign service (annual subscription fee).

Sign library (annual subscription fee).


British Sign Language Dictionary (free).

The signs shown here BSL (British Sign Language) signs. Note that there are regional variations to BSL signs, and, although the signs used in the Makaton and Signalong signing systems are often based on BSL signs, they may vary from the signs shown on this site.

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