Signing Star

SIGNING TIME STAR

The Signing Time Star was a regular feature in our newsletter. Although this is no longer a feature, we hope you enjoy these impressive video clips of our friends showing off their amazing sign language skills.

See our Stars:

Signing Time Star

December 2009 – Jocelyn

By Jocelyn’s mom:

Jocelyn started with “Signing Time” around 1 1/2 years old. She quickly picked up the signs and was able to communicate with us far better than we ever expected. Even when she didn’t know the sign for something, she had already developed the strategy of communicating with gestures and knew she could point, or grab our hands and pull us to the item, to help us understand. That is one of the wonderful benefits of sign language, that such young babies can learn to communicate to adults—without the frustration of throwing a tantrum when the adults don’t understand. I noticed often that she would “babble” and sign at the same time to another adult or child. Most thought she was just babbling, until I translated her signs and they realized she was actually doing much more, she was communicating with real words through her signs. When her verbal vocabulary was only about 15 words, she already knew about 100 signs.

She is now almost 2 1/2 years old and chooses to watch “Signing Time” over Dora, over Mickey Mouse, over pretty much anything. She also loves the songs—she walks around the house singing “What are you Feeling” to her dolls, singing “Going Outside” when we go out, the “Silly Pizza Song” when we eat pizza, “Who has the Frog” when we can’t find something, etc. She loves to “talk” to her dolls and have them sign to her (she takes their hands and helps them). Her vocabulary is exploding—she can sign, say, and recognize colors, animals, foods, she counts, knows many of her ABC signs (and can sing the whole song), and is still learning more and more from Signing Time.

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October 2009 – Felix

By Felix’s mother

When Felix was 1.5 years old, we started to use your Signing Time DVDs to teach him sign language. He quickly picked up sign language and then started talking, at such young age. He could express himself by sign language first, then by talking very well.

We bought the whole series of Signing Time DVDs (including Baby Signing Time) for him to learn at home. It was an effective tool for him. At the age of three, he can recognize more than 3000 words and is starting to read a Primary One level textbook.

He has keen passion to learn sign language through your DVDs. He loves to sing, dance and sign together with Rachel, Alex, Leah and Hopkins. They have become his best companions every day. I wish more people realized the benefits from the wonderful learning and teaching material of Signing Time. I would highly recommend the Signing Time DVD to all children for their learning!

Sylvia Mak Wai Chong
Singapore
www.wiseparents.net

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August 2009 – Nancy

By Nancy’s mother

This is our daughter, Nancy Kay Gale, singing and signing your theme song. She’s probably one of your oldest Signing Time Stars! Nancy is 22 years old and has Joubert Syndrome (which is similar to cerebral palsy). She was born without part of the cerebellum.

When she was about 7 months old, she was hospitalized and they inserted a feeding tube to help with her feeding issues. Shortly thereafter, we started her in an early childhood intervention program. She started receiving physical, occupational and speech therapy along with other learning programs. I asked them why they started speech therapy on a baby who was too young to talk. Her speech therapist told me she never had a child who had feeding issues that didn’t have speech problems later on.

The very first sign Nancy learned as a baby was More, followed by Cracker, Milk, and Water. I guess foods are a good incentive for communication!

Nancy is currently at a 2nd grade school level (mentally) and has other physical challenges. She uses some verbal communication but it is difficult to understand her most of the time. She gets very frustrated when we can’t understand her speech, so then she tries to spell it out in ASL or use signs.

It wasn’t long ago that we discovered Signing Time and started buying lots of your DVDs because she enjoys them so much. She’s already learned most or all of your songs. She learned the Signing Time theme song right away. I don’t know how she did it – singing and signing and dancing at the same time. We think she is a star!

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July 2009 – Ryan

submitted by
Rebecca de Azevedo Overson, Salt Lake City, Utah

Many of you already know me as Rachel and Emilie’s little sister, but I’m also a mother to two adorable boys. A little over a year ago, I contributed an article to the Signing Time newsletter about signing with my son Shawn. He is approaching his third birthday and still loves to sign. He has remained incredibly articulate for his age, and always signs PLEASE and MORE every time he says those words. He knows all his ABCs, signs them, names them when he sees them written, and is continuing to expand his ASL vocabulary. You might recognize Shawn from the cover of Baby Signing Time Vol. 3, “A New Day.”

I was recently visiting with Emilie when my second child, Ryan (then 7 months old) busted out the sign for MILK after a long car ride. He was hungry! We caught it on film to share. In addition to MILK, I’ve seen him sign MORE and make other gestures that I anticipate will turn into signs pretty soon. He responds to my signing, and I know the little wheels in his head are turning as he is developing early communication skills.

I realized that we have grown so accustomed to the idea of our children signing before they talk, that we expect signs to emerge just as we expect other milestones such as crawling or sitting up. For us, communicating with signs is just natural – it makes sense. Both my kids were born into a “Signing Time” world and I’m grateful that we get to reap the developmental benefits of having a hands-on language in our lives.

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March 2009 – Tannor

By Jill & Doug Simpson

We found out that Tannor has severe hearing loss at birth. His father and I went from feeling shocked and scared to “let’s learn everything we can about this so that we can help him communicate” kind of attitude. We started learning ASL and signed with him when he was only about 3-4 months old. I wasn’t sure how much he was even absorbing at that point, but we just kept at it.
Finally, at seven months old he signed his first word “more” at dinner. We were amazed. At 13 months I was given a Signing Time video from a neighbor and he was hooked immediately. His grandpa bought him the first series of videos and he has learned more from Rachel, Leah & Alex than we were able to teach him. In fact, Tannor has been able to show me some new signs!
He started reading on his own with signing books when he was 15 months.

It is so wonderful to be able to communicate with him. When I get him up from a nap, he is able to tell me right away that he is thristy, or hungry or that he wants to brush his teeth. It’s awesome and we are so proud of him. I have been spreading the word about Signing Time to all my friends. What an amazing product and such wonderfully talented people. Thank you all so much!

Sincerely,
Jill, Doug & Tannor Simpson

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February 2009 – Olivia

By Olivia’s mother, Thyra

My husband and I first heard about Signing Time when our older daughter, Kristina, was a year old. Her grandfather purchased her the Signing Time Volume 1-3 DVD Gift Set for her first birthday. Kristina was four and a half when Olivia was born and we had significantly expanded our Signing Time collection by then.

We started signing with Olivia the day she was born. Every time I would nurse her, I would sign “milk”. When she was six months old, she began to sign “milk”. When Olivia was eight months old, we took her to Baby Celebration LA to watch Rachel perform Saturday and Sunday! That was when we purchased Olivia the Baby Signing Time Volume 1-2 DVD Gift Set. Signing Time and Baby Signing Time are on almost every day in our house. Olivia would sit and watch the same DVD repeatedly and not get bored.

When I shot the Signing Star video, I had not considered what I was going to ask her to sign. After I posted the recording, I went to the Signing Success Guide to see what additional signs I had forgotten she knows, and came up with approximately 45 that she can sign back to us! It is amazing how much she can communicate with us even though she is not especially vocal just yet. For Christmas we bought Olivia the Baby Signing Time Volume 3-4 DVD Gift Set and she absolutely loves her new DVDs! Thank you to all of those involved at Two Little Hands Productions!

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December 2008 – Kayla

By Kayla’s mother, Michelle

After reading great reviews about the positive effects of American Sign Language (ASL) on child development, we started watching Signing Time with our daughter Kayla when she was six months old. She fell in love with the show immediately, so soon after that we purchased Baby Signing Time volumes 1 and 2, which she loved even more. At nine months, she started copying the signs she saw on the show, and she began building her ASL vocabulary every day. Now at 13 months, she knows well over 100 signs, and often wakes up in the morning signing like she was just dreaming about it. Not only has Signing Time built her ASL vocabulary, but she has also become extremely vocal, saying most of the words as she signs them.

Signing Time has been an invaluable tool for us, as Kayla is a very active and determined child. When she could sit up, she was determined to crawl. When she could crawl, she was ready to move on to walking. Within days of learning to walk at 9 1⁄2 months, she started trying to run. Signing Time has given Kayla something to pour some of her energy into, and has helped her develop into the amazing, funny, and beautiful little girl she has become. We couldn’t be more proud! The show has opened her up to words that she might not have learned at this age. It is definitely an added bonus that Mommy and Daddy both enjoy signing and singing along as we all watch together. Signing Time is truly a blessing. Thank you!

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October 2008 – Tiana

By Tiana’s mommy & advocate, Debbie P. from Maui

No one in our family had ever learned or used sign language until our precious angel Tiana Grace was born. Tiana was prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome. I immediately began researching the Internet to better prepare our family and myself for what we might expect. Two of the various delays I anticipated dealing with were speech and fine motor skills. A couple months after her heart surgery at four months old, I enrolled in a ‘Baby Signs’ class in anticipation of teaching Tiana to communicate. Although she was not able to return signs, I honestly felt that she was interested in what I was doing (signing).

By the time Tiana was 10 months old I had come across the Signing Time website. I purchased the Baby Signing Time DVDs, and to this day Tiana will sit and watch them from beginning to end signing along. I was thrilled to find out that Signing Time was on television every Saturday morning (PBS). We continue to watch Signing Time together every week as it truly inspires Tiana to want to sign each word that is taught.

At 15 months Tiana was signing babymore, milk & eat. By the time she was 22 months she had memorized over 70 signs. Her older brothers created signs for their own names – as did many other members of our family – so that Tiana could also put a name (sign) to their faces. Tiana is 3-1/2yrs old now and has been attending a special education preschool where her teacher is more than happy to learn American Sign Language (ASL) along with the rest of her class.

Tiana is still nonverbal but is able to communicate her wants & needs thru ASL. I will be forever grateful to Signing Time for making the learning process of signing so much fun. We love you Signing Time & God bless you, Rachel!

Mahalo from Maui,

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September 2008 – Meet the Signers

By Lindsey Blau – www.SigningTime.com

Early last spring, hundreds of children auditioned via video for Two Little Hands Productions. It was a challenge to narrow down our selection since all of them were adorable little signers.

The children who were selected to participate were filmed in May. Some families even traveled long distances for this unique opportunity. Many will appear in the upcoming Baby Signing Time DVDs – Vols. 3 & 4 .

We are pleased to introduce you to the 2008 Baby Signing Time Signers with this special video tribute. Enjoy!

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August 2008 – Carson

By Traci S. from Newberg, OR (mom)

Signing Bridges the Gap from Speech Delay to Speech Proficiency

We started signing with our son Carson just before he was one-year old because I was nervous that he was not yet speaking to express himself.  Once we discovered Signing Time and started watching the videos regularly with Carson, it was amazing how quickly he picked up signs.  We documented on a calendar whenever he used a new sign and there was rarely a day when there wasn’t at least one new sign and often two or three.  Signing Time was a godsend to help us learn sign at the same time Carson was learning it.

Carson picked up signs so quickly and had so many signs by the time he was 18 months that his pediatrician considered sign his primary language rather than spoken English and thus he was “normal” with regards to language even though he had very few spoken words.  By this time he knew all his basic colors and many of his letters.  He had developed a vocabulary of over 100 words before speaking more than about ten.

I would provide Carson’s caregivers with a list of his words that he could sign so that they could communicate with him.  He didn’t speak in daycare until he was nearly two years old, even though by that time he had been speaking at home.  Signing gave him a way to both to communicate with others and to have a “secret” conversation with mom, even if he was too shy to speak.

The biggest benefit to Carson’s signing was that he had a way to ask for things and express himself, which we actually understood.  I feel like we were able to bypass much of the frustration other children face by giving Carson a way to communicate his desires to us.

Now that Carson is nearly 2 1⁄2 years old, he has a very broad spoken vocabulary, which appears to be beyond that of his peers in many cases. I attribute his proficiency to the head start I believe he received by watching Signing Time and learning sign language.

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July 2008 – Bryce

By Amanda J. (Bryce’s mom)
Signing Time – Lifetime Joy of Learning

Some people believe the myth that American Sign Language (ASL) should not be used with children because it will hinder speech. Our son Bryce has dispelled that myth for me. He is now fluent in ASL, Mandarin Chinese and English at the age of three and a half. We are truly thankful that he was introduced to Signing Time in his daycare when he was one and a half years old.

We were completely amazed at how enchanted he was right away with Rachel, Alex and Leah in Signing Time Series One and how much vocabulary he has learned since then. He has learned so much so quickly through all of the visual, audio, vocal and physical activities that are in Signing Time.

Bryce has the full collection of Signing Time. We told all our friends with babies about this great companion for their child’s growth. We bought the DVDs for our friends’ babies on special occasions. We feel this is the most beneficial gift we can give rather than any toys.

Bryce even extends his interest to other signing DVDs, but none of them have been as much fun nor has anything else inspired his signing interest like Signing Time has. Thanks to the great foundation provided by Signing Time, he can pick up any sign language learning materials and learn them quickly. I believe Signing Time has played a very important part in Bryce’s learning to express himself and communicate with this world. He can operate an iPhone and Apple TV, and can browse videos on Youtube and the iPhone at age three. He can read picture books and is always eager to learn. He will talk and sign spontaneously to express himself.

This video was taken when Bryce was three years and three months old. He was signing and singing “The Grand Old Flag” that he taught himself through watching a DVD. His Auntie is a RN in the Military. That’s when we wanted to send this video to her.

We thank Two Little Hand Productions for bringing signing fun to all the kids including those with or without special needs. Now we are expecting a second child and Signing Time will be introduced even earlier. It is a tremendously effective way to encourage our children to learn and have fun learning. Not to mention that a lot of Rachael’s songs are beautifully written and sung. Children are fast learners by nature and they deserve to have FUN while they learn! Signing Time is the number one choice.

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June 2008 – Kalen

by Holly M. (Kalen’s mom)

I began teaching Kalen sign language because I knew it would make our lives easier. Who wouldn’t want a child who could sign for milk instead of screaming? But then an amazing thing happened. By the time she was 10 months old, Kalen was telling us about things that were important to her, like birds and dogs, as well as providing us with needed information, like she was thirsty or wanted more.

As Kalen revealed her thoughts and personality through sign, I became addicted to knowing more about her. Since she couldn’t speak more than “da” (dad), “do” (dog), and “du” (duck), I worked tirelessly on sign language. When she was 12-13 months old, I discovered Baby Signing Time. Her sign vocabulary skyrocketed, and by 18 months, she knew 220+ signs. Of course, that meant that my husband and I had to stay ahead of her. I asked all the local libraries to order all the Signing Time DVDs and many of them did. Kalen was enthralled, and Bryan and I learned along with her.

Now that Kalen is two and talking, we use signs to clarify her words. It can be hard to know if she is talking about a fork or a fox, unless she signs it. We also use signs to introduce new concepts. Within a week of watching a new Signing Time DVD, Kalen is talking and signing about subjects well above the comprehension of other two-year-olds. After watching Days of the Week, Kalen began talking about events in the past, and telling us what day she did them. “Saturday picked strawberries.” She can also tell us what she does on other days of the week. “Sunday church. Monday school.” Kalen is also learning the manual alphabet and beginning to spell and read/identify words. I attribute much of Kalen’s “advanced” knowledge to the way sign language makes abstract concepts, concrete.

I’m proud of the knowledge my daughter has developed because of sign language and Signing Time. But I’m more grateful for the early bond my husband and I developed with her. How many other parents get to laugh at the jokes of their 14-month-old? Or watch their child’s first spontaneous prayer before they are two?

More stories about Kalen and her signing progress are posted at http://hollytriedit.blogspot.com

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May 2008 – Fireese

by Laura (Fireese’s mom)

I started signing with my daughter Fireese when she was four months old and she started signing back to us when she was about 9.5 months old. Our biggest “aha” moment, the moment when we knew that this was why we started signing with her was when she was ten months old. When she was ten months old, my daughter knew almost a dozen signs, mainly food signs. One day she was eating Cheerios and signing “more”. I’d give her more and she would throw them on the floor and sign “more” again. I said to her, “Then you don’t want MORE… what do you want?” She looked at me and signed “more cheese”. I was amazed for two reasons:

  • She put together a two word sentence at ten months.
  • There was no cheese in sight. I hadn’t offered her cheese during that snack time yet she was able to clearly communicate to me what she wanted.

I could imagine how frustrated she would have been if she hadn’t been able to tell me what she wanted.

When she started talking she didn’t sign as much as she did when she was a baby. I really love the language, and have Deaf friends so I really wanted her to continue signing. When she was 18 months I decided to show her a Signing Time video to see if this would get her interested in signing again. She absolutely loved Rachel and the Signing Time videos.; That was all she would watch for the longest time.; I was so happy for the Singing Time videos because it renewed her love of signing!; She would sing along to the theme song and sign “Alex” and “Leah” when Rachel said their names. She is now 2 and a half and still loves watching Signing Time!

Thanks to signing, Fireese learned her alphabet very early (at 15 months) and now at 2 and a half she is able to read and spell, putting the letters together into words. I highly recommend parents continue signing with their children even after they start talking! Signing Time definitely helps parents be able to reinforce the signs that their children are learning in a fun and entertaining way.

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April 2008 – Corey

by Renee J. (Corey’s mom)

We have learned so much over the past three short years since the birth of our son, Corey. Corey is a strong, energetic explorer. Since before his first birthday, Corey has been watching the baby sign videos and we have even taken several sign language classes at the local community center. Corey is the typical boy who loves to play, jump off of things, and enjoy all kinds of ball games like basketball, football, and baseball.

Sign language has been natural and easy for Corey to incorporate into his language development. Corey was diagnosed with Apraxia of Speech. At a very early age his speech therapist recommended that we teach him sign language.; We began watching Signing Time videos everyday at mealtime and he really looked forward to watching his video. Now that he is three-years old and in a pre-school program, his sign language knowledge has been a huge plus in helping him move forward. He is happy to teach anyone who asks how to sign.

As a family we have learned American Sign Language (ASL) by watching the Signing Time videos. It is so very important for children who don’t have a voice to have a way to communicate their needs, wants and to keep down the frustration when they want to communicate. Some of Corey’s favorite words are “ball,” “play,” and “NO!” His new word is “school.”

The Welcome to School video was perfect for him to talk about his day, his teacher and his school, because Corey loves school. I love that these videos have given Corey an easy way to communicate. I think people believe that sign language will keep a hearing child from talking – not true. Sign language has encouraged Corey to think and express himself. His test scores are proof!; We started learning sign language before he was one-year old. Now that Corey has been using sign language; he is testing well in school. Although he does not use his voice to communicate, the school recognizes his use of ASL in place of words – and that is a huge blessing. This means he will not be held back because of what some would consider a disability. We will continue to learn ASL and encourage Corey to grow his vocabulary. Thank you Signing Time for creating these videos. We could not have learned any other way.

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March 2008 – Molly

by May Quigley (Molly’s mom)

Who knew that such a young mind could deliberate so much when it comes to conversation?! Molly was an altogether fabulous baby, but with nothing verbal to tell us. She was one with a quiet disposition and we never really knew if she was happy just “being.” I knew, as a first time mother, I wanted to teach my children sign language. I took a class when I was younger, and had learned of the benefits American Sign Language (ASL) had to offer the little ones. Once Molly was born, I started teaching her simple words, like “eat” and “sleep” but she didn’t seem to catch on. I then researched on the internet and found theSigning Time website. I was pleased to have her watching something educational while I did chores around the house.

Molly started watching Signing Time at 15 months. At first, my husband didn’t think she was retaining any of the signs, until one day Molly looked at him and signed, “apple.” We were amazed! Eventually she picked up ASL very quickly. In just one month, she was able to keep up with the first three volumes of Signing Time, and loved to point at things and sign them. Signing Time was the thing she wanted to watch, so we purchased the next few volumes. By Christmas, she was able to communicate over 200 signs, including her alphabet, and numbers up to 10 all thanks to Signing Time! Molly’s verbal skills have now burgeoned, and she is even able to show her bilingual and even trilingual skills by communicating in English, Tagalog and sign language.

She now loves to teach her little brother and little sister ASL. Thank you so much Signing Time for giving our family the gift of words; whether it be by hand or by mouth, it is still a beautiful gift.

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February 2008 – Chloe

Chloe showing off her signing vocabulary at 14 months

by Michelle Rowan (Chloe’s mom)

Sign language may never have been a part of our family if it had not been for our second daughter, Annie. At the age of almost 2 she suddenly lost all of her words and began closing us out of her world. We were told she was speech delayed and possibly autistic. She had a hard time understanding us, could not follow simple directions, rarely gave us eye contact, and she couldn’t communicate her wants or needs. We worked with learning consultants and a speech therapist each week hoping to improve our communication. They suggested sign language and even tried to help us implement it, but she wouldn’t look at us long enough to learn any signs. Our neighbor across the street told us about Signing Time, and we decided to give it a try! Annie watched Rachel with her full attention and within months was signing hundreds of words and was talking. When she turned three, her scores were high enough in each area to test out of the program. She is now 4 and is thriving in preschool. Chloe was born when Annie was 2 and a half. We knew what sign language could do for a child starting at the age of 2 and couldn’t wait to see what it could do when starting as an infant!

We started using baby signs at around 6 months and showing Chloe the Baby Signing Time DVDs. Although her first signs didn’t emerge until 10 months, we could tell she KNEW what we were saying and signing because of her smiles and the satisfaction on her face. By 12 months she could sign 11 words and say 15. By 15 months she could sign 60 words and say 35. She is now 17 months and can SIGN and SAY over 90 words! I think sign language is such a wonderful way to communicate. Children who cannot yet speak have a way to tell you what they want or even just what they see. It’s so fun to be able to climb into your child’s mind and find out what she is thinking about because she has a way to tell you!

We LOVE Signing Time and are so grateful for the huge difference it has made in our lives. We own every DVD and know every song! (There’s a song for practically every minute or situation in your day!)

Thank you!
Joe & Michelle Rowan, Megan (age 6), Annie (age 4) and Chloe (17 months)

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January 2008 – Anyka

Anyka Singing “I’m Awake”
from My Day – Signing Time Volume 10

Who is Anyka and what is her story?

by Alyson Miller, Anyka’s mother

When Anyka was born, she had trouble breathing. After 12 hours it seemed like she wasn’t going to make it. It was after that we were told she had a cleft palate and that she would possibly never hear, speak or communicate because oxygen deprivation had probably left her severely brain damaged. We believed that she was locked inside that little body not able to tell us what she was feeling and thinking. Our speech therapist recommended that we learn how to sign with her. I remember thinking “There is no way I am going to learn this language. It is complicated and hard!”

Then the therapist recommended theSigning Time videos. We went to the web, bought the video and watched it together. All of a sudden it became a family activity! We would watch it together; remind each other of the signs and we started really signing with Anyka. We saw this incredible change in her right away. It’s like a light bulb went on inside her. Anyka took to signing immediately; it was like she thought, “They can understand me. I am signing these things and they are getting it!” She was an entirely different person, and it is all because our therapist recommended Signing Time.

By the time she was 18 months old, she knew all her letters by sight (upper and lower case) and sign; she was able to prove the doctors completely wrong about brain damage. Now, at 5 years old, she is scoring above her peer group on cognitive testing and has a sign vocabulary of over 600 signs. Signing Time! is truly an incredible blessing for our family.

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Here is how to enter and submit your video:

Post your video to Youtube.com using the title: Signing Time with (insert name here*). Make sure to send an email to star@signingtime.com with your contact information and link to the video.

Videos can include any of the following:

  • Singing and/or signing the Signing Time song
  • Showing off signing vocabulary
  • Child’s reactions to watching Signing Time
  • Or anything else related to Signing Time

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*We realize that some people may not want to post their real names with their entry on Youtube. If you wish to remain anonymous, feel free to post a nickname, funny name or any name you want to ensure your anonymity.HOWEVER, we need to know who you are. With your entry, make sure to include your contact information so we can contact you! Review Terms and Conditions