Letter from Rachel: Signing Time on Public Television

Dear Friends,

The past three years have been an exciting time for us at Two Little Hands Productions as Signing Time has debuted on stations around the country.  When our show was first offered we had no idea what to expect, we hoped at least a handful of stations would carry our little series.  My sister Emilie and I created Signing Time in hopes of introducing a fun new way to communicate while simultaneously breaking down the language barrier between typical children and their peers with disabilities.  Our mission of helping all children communicate is still so important and I thank all of you who have shared Signing Time with the people around you and championed our cause.

Remarkably we reached a cumulative carriage of over 70% of the public television stations, something we are very proud of.  Emilie and I had hoped that national exposure would help us secure a sponsor whose mission aligns with ours; to date this has not happened.  As two sisters, who are mothers and creators of the show, we simply can not finance an additional season ourselves. As of October 1st 2008, Signing Time will no longer be airing on public television.

I am honored that my family has been welcomed into so many homes through public television.  It has been a pleasure working with each station, partnering with them for outreach events and allowing me to meet so many Signing Time fans face to face.

We hope that in the future we may be able to bring Signing Time to television once again.

Signing Time resources and products including DVDs, CDs, books, weekly chats and parenting forums are always available at www.signingtime.com.

Thank you for being a part of our Signing Time family.


Rachel Coleman
Co-creator and Host of Signing Time

Note to public television stations: We are happy to continue offering Signing Time products to stations at a discount for pledge, promotions, events and Ready to Learn projects. We are not selling rights to Signing Time at this time.

55 thoughts on “Letter from Rachel: Signing Time on Public Television”

  1. Oh, that is a bummer! After all that work you did in redesigning the format of the shows for television.

    Well, I do hope that there will be a ST! Series 3 and more BST! and Practice Time!

    Thanks for all that you do.

  2. Rachel and Emily,

    I’m sorry to hear that your show won’t be on Public Television next year! It is truly sad that a sponsor did not come forward. Perhaps when Sarah Palin becomes Vice President, her advocacy will extend to promoting sign language for children of all abilities. Maybe you could prime the pump now and send her the Baby Signing Time Series. . . Even if she doesn’t make it to the White House, you can bet she will be on the forefront of advocacy for Downs children.

    My two-year-old daughter watched “Strollin'” and “Let’s Be Friends” today. She loved it, of course. Now we’re just waiting for a clip of Fireese to appear.


  3. We don’t watch on air TV anyway, so we will continue picking up videos at the library and possibly get one or two for Christmas!

    My kids and I love it–dh has not had a chance to catch on though…

  4. I am so sad to hear that you will not be on public television. I have told so many families about your “magic” show. So many children’s lives are enhanced by Signing Time. It will be a shame for those who will miss out. I am so thankful my son has “found” you. Your video’s work magic with him!!

  5. Wait, new ST on PBS or ALL ST on PBS? ‘Cause I JUST checked my PBS station’s schedule, and it says they’re airing “My Favorite Sport” on the fourth! I’m SO confused!

    I cried when I read that ST would not be on PBS anymore.

  6. As a senior in High School I would watch Signing Time On PBS on sunday mornings, i have had the disaire in investing in the series of singing time, but still I haven’t, but still want to buy the series even more that the fact that signing Time will not be aired anymore. I have learned alot while i have been watching Signing Time. Signing Time Brought me a new friend at school that is imparied in hearing and to two of my cousins that are also imparied in hearing. After i Learned about Signing Time one of my other cousins with Down Syndrome has pick up signing Time and it has help him and his Family communicate better to under needs. Thank You Racheal!

  7. Rachel, Alex, and Leah,

    I so hope to see you in the future. I had always been fascinated and wanted to learn sing language as a child. I had took out a book at the library as a 8 year old child to self teach myself. Although I had no one to sign with as a child. I turned 40 this year. I decided to do somethings I had always wanted to do. I saw Singing Time on our local PBS station. And I was inspired to learn more…32 years later. I have learned so much from you. I will continue to learn more and hope that I too, can someday find someone I can talk to and sign with when I get more proficient. May you be able to find the funding needed to continue with the wonderful program you created. I will pray for you and your children. I believe good things happen to those who wait. You have helped so many. Hope to see you again soon!-Thank you, Dawn

  8. Oh no! So many of us love your show! How could sponsors not be fighting for it? We will continue to follow you, but are sad not to have access to you excellent show on television. Good luck and please keep us posted! My daughters have learned SO much and we learn right along with them! Thank you to your whole family!!!!

  9. I think the challenge and the gift is that Signing Time is so much more than a little TV show–it truly is revolutionary. Our 3 year old has Down syndrome and has been watching Signing Time since she was 9 months old. She is enrolled in a literacy program for children with Down syndrome and is already reading. Doctors told us she would not speak until age 5, but she is talking, reading, and knows her alphabet both verbally and in sign. The truly amazing thing, though, was that sign has given her a way to interact with others. My favorite memory was when, at age 2, she signed thank you to a group of teenagers. They were so impressed they would say a word and she would “show them a sign,” which they repeated. In that moment, not only did our daughter not have special needs–she was the teacher. What an amazing gift of self-confidence your show has provided.

    Our 9 year old daughter started at a new school this fall and has befriended the whole DHH class because she was able to sign “My name is Megan. Pleased to meet you.” She has requested a Signing Time video on friends for bigger kids, so she can figure out what to say next to these sign language pros.

    It sure seems like there should be grants that could help keep the good work coming. There’s not many if any shows out there that can improve the quality of life for so many people.

  10. I am so sad to see this message, though I completely understand your position. I pray that a corporate sponsor will come forward and finance many more seasons!! Signing Time! has been fantastic for our family!!

  11. Rachel & Emilie
    My family has loved Signing Time! I will miss seeing in on PBS. As a pediatric audiologist, I often recommend ST to parents to help them learn sign language and better be able to communicate with their children. I hope that you will soon be on the air again as your show and dedication has helped hearing children, hard-of-hearing children, children with disabilities, and all the parents and caregivers around the US!
    Thanks for all!

  12. Rachel,
    I’m so sorry to hear that sponsors didn’t step up and give your program the support it deserves. I had the opportunity to watch daily this summer while recovering from a fractured ankle. I think it’s amazing the “junk” that can receive financing on television and other media, and yet something as wonderful as Signing Times does not receive financial support. I started teaching my 3 year old daughter and 11 year old son sign. While they are both blessed to have their hearing, ASL after all is another form of communication and my husband and I want them to be multi-lingual. I think the program you and your sister created, and Alex and Leah (and Hopkins) is a blessing that must go on and will. One solution you may want to consider is webcasting your program and allow your loyal viewers to subscribe (pay-per-view) either on your website or as part of your blog. If you would like to know more about it, feel free to contact me, and thank you & God Bless you all for the wonderful work you do!

  13. Rachel, Alex, and Leah

    I am so sorry to hear that ST will not be on PBS next season, it’s a shame that many children who haven’t experience ST will not be able to. My family have been blessed to have watched your shows and videos and learned so much as well. We are also blessed to have met you and your family in Utah for the signing times video productions. I sure hope that someone will come forward and put ST back on the air.
    Thank you and your families for everything and hope for a great outcome to come. Good luck and god bless.

  14. Hi, Rachel.

    My son has autism, and we both really enjoy learning sign language from your DVDs, which we are lucky enough to be able to rent from our local public library.

    Thank you for all your hard work!

  15. Our family was sad to hear that PBS would no longer carry your program. My three year old grandson has autism and Rachel, Leah and Alex are his best friends. Rachel always smiles at him and Leah and Alex always do what he expects them to do. We use the show often to help him learn concepts and we were thrilled this summer when he began to identify the printed words he had learned on the show as well as the signs. His special ed preschool teacher wanted to know what signs he knew so she could be looking for them. We realized with surprise that he knows over 200 signs and we never know when he is going to use them. We will miss you and follow your progress as you continue to inspire children and families with your very special programs.

  16. My daughter Hailey & I LOVE your show. I always tape your Sunday a.m. show so Hailey watch it when she done with her Sunday breakfast. We went to watch the tape this morning and was disappointed 🙁 Luckily we had one still on tape.

    She is 2 1/2 and we have been doing a little signing since she was one. I had always did a little signing before then (mainly eat, mommy & more) & now she teaches a few kids at daycare they always ask her what the sign for some things are. She’s has learned a lot more signs from watching Signing Time that I hadn’t been able to teach her & I know she will miss your show a lot.

    Come back soooooon PLEASE!!!

    Jessica & Hailey

  17. Are family was just indroduced to your show and we watched the last two before it went off (we already miss it). We are trying to have sign language in the schools around here. We love what you all do and hope to see you again.


  18. I am in tears. My grandson was born blind and deaf. He has a very rare syndrome. He is two and we have lost track of how many operations he has had after 35 of them. He can see now and signing time is the only way he can learn to communicate. We have tried many others. He loves all of you and so do I.We do not have the finances to purchase the DVD’s. I can’t believe something like this could happen. What is the matter with people. Don’t they know how many families need this program. What can we do? Who can we call? We all have to fight for this!! My grandsons quality of life has improved 100 %. Now what are we going to tell these children who really do depend on this show. Someone has to help. My heart is broken over this. We can’t do it without you. We are praying for you and your family just as we are for ours. Rachel, you are the reason my grandson can communicate with me. God bless you and everyone in your life.

  19. This is in response to “Brenda”
    I was so touched by your story and your sadness that I would love to help you come up with the funding to purchase the dvds for your grandson. I am a special education teacher in michigan and am working on my masters in speech pathology. I will talk to some friends of mine and see what we can do to help. Please feel free to email me at jloveless616@yahoo.com at your convienence and God Bless

  20. I’m SO sorry to hear that you haven’t found a sponsor for PBS. Is there anything we could do as a community to make it happen??? Our TiVo died this last month and we lost everything on there and Signing Time was one of the two shows that we kept every episode of. Many people think that only the smaller percentage of special needs children and families benefit from ST – not true! We got hooked on the DVD’s (from the library) when our daughter was a baby. She’ll be 3 in October and had a MUCH larger vocabulary before any of her friends and relatives of the same age. She LOVES you guys and can’t understand since we got the TiVo fixed why all of her ST shows are gone (we’ve had quite a few tantrums over it).

    It’s also meant a lot for us in a couple other ways. First, our friends’ oldest little boy has had a rough year (he’s the same age as our daughter). When he still wasn’t talking at 2, the doctors finally started running tests on him. He has been diagnosed with apraxia and may have other neurological issues too. They are on public assistance and are only allowed about 1/4 of the speech therapy he needs. I turned them onto ST and they counted on the PBS airings and the library for the episodes because they can’t afford to purchase the DVDs. It has helped them immensely. 🙂

    Second, at my daughter’s daycare, a little girl started going there when the state found a better family for her and her brother and adopted them to a loving family. She was born deaf and the state had her fitted with a cochlear implant a month prior. She was with a new family and in daycare and our daycare lady called to ask me what the videos were that our daughter watched. The thing that touched me the most was the way this little girl lit up when she realized I knew some sign language. Besides her little brother, no one in her new life could speak to her in her native language. She loves talking to me whenever I’m there, and amazingly, I can have a pretty good conversation with her when we both take our time. It makes me teary-eyed just thinking about it.

    Thank you Signing Time! I really, really hope you find the funding you need so you can continue to help families all across the country that can’t afford to buy many of the DVD’s or don’t have access because their library doesn’t have them. We love you guys!

  21. I hate to be the cynic, but am I missing something here? What about the sales of DVD’s and everything else on the website? Those profits don’t help to finance the show on PBS? Looks like you’ll be making A LOT more money off that stuff now since everyone will have to buy your products if they want to watch Signing Time. Please correct me if I’m mistaken. My daughter will miss Signing Time as will, undoubtedly, many kids whose parents can’t afford $20 for a 30 minute DVD.

  22. Rachel,
    I am so sad to see that your show isn’t on PBS anymore. My family has loved ST.

    I am a Salon owner and a Nail Tech and I also homeshcool my children. Every Friday when ST came on, that was their ‘second language’ class. They would put everything else aside and sit down to watch ST.

    I have been teaching them to sign since they were babies (they are 10 & 7 now) but they have learned so much from ST. They have even taught many of my customers differnt signs.

    It has been neat to see my customers come in to get their nails down and to leave knowing some sign language that my children have showed them.

    I will be getting your ST series when I am able to. I have really enjoyed them. I hope that you will eventually do a 3rd series, maybe for older children? I will be the first in line for it. lol 🙂

    If you come to Tulsa, I hope that you will contact me. I’d love to meet you and your family.

    I also hope that somehow you’ll be able to get a sponsor. You have a ministry and you need the support. I’ll agree with you that somehow something will give for you.
    We love you!
    Pam & kids from Tulsa

  23. Rachel,
    We have a premature baby who is delayed in language (now 18 months). Baby Signing Time has been her favorite video and some of her first words! My 9 year old loves learning ASL, too! I then found it on PBS just a few months ago. I am very sad to learn it is no longer on TV. You really packed lots of information into a short time and we all love the songs.
    Have you tried the Baby First TV channel? Have you any grants? Why not obtain the same funding “Dora the Explorer” or “Reading Between the Lions” has? Your program is more valuable. Let me know how we can help get you all back on the air!

  24. Emilie Brown and Rachel Coleman, Co-creators of Signing Time

    This is in response to Jill’s post:

    Hey Jill,

    Thanks for saying what others may be thinking but haven’t said. And thanks for your commitment to Signing Time.

    The short answer is “yes,” product sales have helped finance the show on public TV. The bad news is…the math doesn’t add up yet. (That’s why most public TV shows never even get produced unless they have a sponsor beforehand!) It’s thanks to our customers who purchase Signing Time products that thousands, maybe millions of families and students have had free access to Signing Time for three years. Our customers have been the amazing co-sponsors of Signing Time.

    We believe there is a sponsor out there that we just haven’t met yet. In the meantime, we hope anyone who wants to learn from Signing Time, but can’t afford it, will borrow it from a friend, library, school, or other organization. If your library or school doesn’t have it, request it or help them secure a grant for it. That way you can be the “sponsor” of Signing Time in your community.

    There have been so many viewers who want to help make sure Signing Time gets back on TV to stay, that we are preparing a post on what we can all do to make it happen.

    Best wishes,

    Emilie and Rachel

  25. I am an elementary special ed. teacher. I have several non-verbal students. They hear but do not or cannot speak. We use sign in the classroom and when I stumbled upon your show I was sold. I taped about three shows which I showed to the class to see how well they would work. Several students picked it up right away and others are beginning to get the idea too. I have ordered a total of 6 DVDs now for the class. I will continue to order as I have budget available. (There is so much needed in a special ed. classroom and budgets just can’t cover it all at once.) Maybe within a couple of years I will have the entire collection. If ever you need a sounding board to help develop what is really used in the classroom, I will be happy to help. I have been teaching non-verbal students for years (I don’t have deaf children experience.) I sincerely hope that you find a sponsor or another way of getting your product into the school system. It is wonderful and I wouldn’t teach without it!

  26. It is a shame the media and/or sponsors can sponsor shows that do not meet some of the parents standards but turn down shows that help/teach/encourage our children and their parents to be able to help themselves. “Signing Time” will be greatly missed by many parents and children.

  27. Rachel, Alex, Leah and Hopkins,
    My kids have enjoyed watching Signing Time on PBS for the last three years. Thank you for providing the sponsorship for that time on PBS, it has been so wonderful. I truly believe that Signing Time is the reason that my 15 month knew the alphabet and could count to 20. He asked for “Rachel” everyday! Rachel, you have become a fixture in our household. We love you, Alex and Leah!
    Thanks to you and your sister, Emilie, for creating such a wonderful series! I have purchased many as gifts for friends and family. We are always on a waiting list at the library for “Signing Time.”
    I would love to see some company or organization step forward to sponsor “Signing Time.”
    We love having you come into our home for 30 minutes everyday!
    Thank you and hopefully, we’ll see you soon!

  28. Thank you so much guys and gals for doing this wonderful show!!! It has been wonderful to have a show that I can trust my sweet daughter can watch! She has learned so much!! I am just sorry that you aren’t able to stay on anymore!!! we have DVR a lot of the shows so that we can show them over and over again!!! We also have a lot of dvds too. So again thank you for all of your hard work!!! We also hope that you are able to come back on someday soon too!!!

  29. This is shocking! My kids love watching the show in the morning on the weekends. My wife shows the DVDs to her pre-school class and teaches them sign language. Sign language has been very benificial for her students as well as our kids.

  30. Dear Rachel,
    I was so sad to hear that your show is not on PBS anymore. I must tell you that your show has been a life saver for me. Both my husband and I are hearing, but we have 2 children that are hearing impaired. They are both little (5 and 2) so learning to communicate with them has been a challenge. We have a bunch of your videos and it is by far the best way I have come across for both me and my kids to learn sign language. I hope that you are able to get back on the air and I thank you for doing these shows. They have certainly helped my family.

    Thanks and hope to see you on TV again soon.

  31. We dashed home from kindergarten and turned on the TV as usual on Monday, only to find out that last week was the last time Signing Time would be on the air. Good thing we had a few DVDs already, or my autistic son would have LOST IT not getting to see his favorite show.

    Just as a bit of feedback: I actually preferred series #1, and if that’s all they ran, I’d be quite happy! (Fingers crossed TV can run them again one day!!) The heart and soul I loved about the first shows isn’t in the other series, I think. You introduce the Game sections etc. with 2 songs, and it’s a bit of overkill/waisted time when they could be learning more signs. Still, it WAS Signing Time, and my kids loved it no matter what. Hard to go wrong when you have so many other great ideas!

    Thanks from a family with young children and a special needs kid who learned to speak because of your being what you are and doing all that you do!

    Fiona R. Feickert (& Joshua, Emma & Daniel too!)
    Kaysville, UT

  32. Dear Rachel,
    I was heartbroken to read that you would no longer be on PBS! My 4 year old son was born profoundly deaf. We were introduced to your dvds by the Illinois School for the Deaf in Jacksonvillel, IL. Our funds are limited, so it has taken a long time to invest in your series. I was so excited when I found out you were going to be on PBS! Only problem was… our stations were some of those that didn’t carry it!!!
    We moved to Utah in July and have recorded your show and watched it endlessly….my son loves it!!!
    It kills me that we waited 2 1/2 years to live somewhere that airs it only to have you pull it! I hope that “we” are blessed with a sponsor soon. We miss you!
    The Madsons

  33. I just discovered Signing Time earlier this yr and instantly feel in love w/ it and I have been watching every saturday morning @ 8am. I started taking a beginner’s sign language class this yr and found signing time to be very helpful in increasing my vocabulary. I regret that I just found out about signing time this yr but I have looked forward to watching every sat morning. I took notes also so I could study during the wk. I thank you for taking the time to share your story and teach others to communicate using sign. I have an uncle who is deaf and signing time has truly helped me to better communicate w/ him. Thank you Rachel, Leah, Alex, Emily, and Hopkins. You have truly been a blessing and an inspiration to me.

  34. I am so disappointed to hear the news. Anytime you mention the word ‘Saturday’ to my 2 and 3 year old, they automatically ask if they can watch Signing Time! We will continue to support you with your products as I feel that you have done a truly incredible thing by bringing so much awareness to children of all abilities (to quote you!). Thank you so much for everything!!

  35. Please know that all of us moms enrolled in the sign language class offered to the parents of kids in the Deaf/HOH programs of our Bay Area school district will miss your show as well. It’s been invaluable to us as we practice with pur kids throughout the week. Fortunately my daughter and I had several episodes saved on my DVR!

  36. Aww..that makes me so sad! My 18 month old loved the show and has over 50 signs, thanks for all you have done! We will miss you!

  37. Rachel,

    I am so sad to hear that Signing Time is no longer on PBS. I thought it was our new DVR that was just not taping them. I then searched through days and didn’t find any ST on the schedule. Our son will be a year old in a few weeks and he has LOVED watching your show for the past 6 months. All I have to say is, “Rachel is on” and he’ll crawl in front of the t.v. and start waving his hands. I sit and sign along. He gets so excited. I too have told countless families about ST. My husband and I have each learned over 100 signs from your show. This year I’m even using what I learned to teach my preschool class some ASL. It is sad that someone wouldn’t sponosor such a wonderful and truly educational program. We hope to see you return again someday!

  38. Dear Rachel, I have all the signing times recorded on our DVR that aired on the UEN channel. I have loved learning ASL. I am older and wish there would have been a program like yours when I was a young child because I had 3 Aunts and an Uncle who were deaf. I would have loved to be able to sign to them! Lucky for me they were able to read lips very well. All but one has passed away. My one Aunt that is still here is in her mid 80’s and I went to lunch with her and a cousin recently. I was so proud to be able to do some signing to her as we talked and it’s all because of your show. I thank you with all my heart for sharing with people a most precious language. I pray things will work out and a sponsor will pick up your valuable show. With all my love, Carol

  39. I am so sad that Signing Time will not be on PBS anymore! Of all the shows available out there today I found Signing Time to be the most educational and constructive in teaching vocabulary to my now 3 year old. We are always getting comments on how well and how clearly he speaks! We were excited to continue the education with our second son now 8 months old. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge, talent, and creativity in a truly positive program!

  40. I’m truely sorry you won’t be on Public Television! I fell in love with Sign Lanaguage years ago, taken classes here and there. Your show helped me (I’m in my 50’s) learn. I pray a sponsor will help you. Thank you.

  41. Oh that is sad to hear … I am a deaf mom and my daugther loves to watch your DVDs since she was a baby. now she is 2 years old. Everyday she always asked me to show her Signing time. we just got a cable and are planning to find the signing time for my daugther to watch… so sad that the signing time program will stop soon.

    sob sob

  42. I am sad to hear that Signing Time will not be on T.V. I hope that this is only temporary. My girls ages 2 1/2 years and 18 months love this show. This is the only show that they will watch all the way through. It is cute to watch them sign along. And we all try to sign through out the day.

  43. That stinks! My daughter and I loved your show and will be very sad that it won’t be on anymore! I hope that you will find a sponsor soon! We will be looking forward to the day it is back on! Good luck!

  44. i have to say this really makes me sad! me and my husband are writing a letter to pbs to let them know how dissapointed we are. I mean i like pbs but no offense a couple shows that actually really educate my daughter are the ones that should stay on. god im so upset at this, regardless of the fact i will continue to purchase the dvd’s its just a very big dissapointment. If i had the money id give it to you guys for sure!!! so sorry!! 🙁

  45. i guess after reading rachels note again i guess pbs isnt at fault? im not sure im just so upset at this . I wish there was something we can all do. is there??

  46. Thankfully as you said we can still go to The Signing Time! website. Please remember that you have touched the lives of many people and families and will continue to do so even though we won’t see you on PBS. Keep putting you heart and believing into what you do! Thank you very much!

  47. This is very sad news. ST is the only program we let our baby watch. she is 18 months now and she now knows more signs the me. funny thing is she is now making up here on signs for some things.

    Sorry you are no longer going to be on TV. We will still support ST by purchasing the Videos. the benefits to my child have been very obvious.

  48. My 12month old Adam is deaf and he has an older brother (Frankie) that is five years old. We used to watch Signing Times when Frankie was a baby. Little did we know it would be the foundation to a lifetime of learning to sign. I was so sad and disapointed to find that the show has been taken off the air!

    PLEASE PLEASE find a way to bring it back. There are MANY families includung mine who are in need of a show like this… There are not enough places that teach signing.
    We are a family that has no choice but to learn signing if we want to commuincate with our child.

    In my opinion, other shows on PBS don’t offer half as much!

  49. I’m also very sad to see that Signing Time is no longer on tv. I discovered Signing Time in 2008 while taking a college ASL class. Because this was my first ever class in sign, Singing Time was monumental in helping all of the new signs “sink in”. I work in a private preschool and we use sign with our little ones and it is truly amazing what sign does for a preverbal child. It is my hopes that the right someone sees the incredible benefits of this show and how extremely important it is to all types of families and viewers and will fund the show. I’ve decided to obtain my Interpreter’s Certificate to teach ASL at the high school level. God bless your families, Rachel and Emilie, and all who benefit from the show.

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