American Sign Language with Children in Storytime or in the Classroom: A Practical Guide

American Sign Language is most commonly used in storytimes for babies, but the applications can go much further. In this 6-week eCourse, programming expert and signing storyteller Kathy MacMillan explores the benefits of signing with all children. In addition to learning basic American Sign Language (ASL) vocabulary appropriate for use with children in library and classroom settings, you will also learn techniques to share stories, songs, and other activities that incorporate ASL. The course will use readings, multimedia resources, online discussion boards, and customized video assignments to provide you with the tools to share ASL in an effective and respectful way in your programs. MacMillan provides you with a linguistic and cultural context to help make your programming more accessible.

A few of your assignments will be to create videos of yourself signing, so that you can get direct feedback from the instructor.


“Sign Language for Children in Storytime or in the Classroom: A Practical Guide is one of the most well-organized and rewarding professional development courses I've taken. I really appreciated the topics covered and all the additional tips the instructor contributed to the discussion forums.”

“Kathy MacMillan was an outstanding teacher, and I would highly recommend this class to my colleagues.”

“This course was appropriately named. It was practical and extremely informative.”

After participating in this eCourse, you will:

  • Have a working knowledge of approximately 180 signs (introduced through video) 
  • Create two storytime/classroom activities using the featured vocabulary that you can implement in your storytimes
  • Understand relevant aspects of child development and early literacy
  • Understand signing in a linguistic and cultural context

Please note that this eCourse can also be purchased as part of the American Sign Language for Librarians eCourse Bundle.

Kathy MacMillan is a freelance writer and nationally certified American Sign Language interpreter. She is the author of Nita's First Signs (Familius Press), as well as the author or co-author of many books from ALA Editions, including Little Hands & Big Hands: Children and Adults Signing Together and the Storytime Magic series. She was the library/media specialist at the Maryland School for the Deaf from 2001 to 2005 and has worked in public libraries since 1996.  She presents storytelling programs introducing sign language through Stories By Hand and offers training and resources for enhancing storytimes through Storytime Stuff. Her debut young adult novel, Sword and Verse, was published by HarperCollins in 2016.