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  5. Top 10 Best Sign Language Books in the UK 2022
  • Top 10 Best Sign Language Books in the UK 2022 1
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Top 10 Best Sign Language Books in the UK 2022

Sign Language uses hand movements and gestures to convey meaning and is used not only by the deaf community but also by parents of children with developmental delays and those who want to communicate better with their babies before they learn to speak. British Sign Language (BSL) is the most widely used in the UK, while Makaton sign language has been developed using elements of BSL to help young children communicate visually with their parents and peers.

Shopping for a sign language book for beginners? Look no further than our ranking of the top ten books on sign language, rated according to value for money and quality. Whether you want a picture book on sign language for babies, a sign language dictionary or a reference book explaining how sign language works, we have something for you.
Last updated 19/08/2022
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Products or services listed have been independently ranked by the mybest Editorial Team based on the points mentioned in our thoroughly researched buying guide as of 16-01-2023.

How to Choose a Sign Language Book in the UK – Buying Guide

In this article we’ll talk you through the types of sign language books available online this year, and help you think about the best option for your personal needs. There are many fantastic sign language books for adults, children and complete beginners, so take a look and discover which book will suit you best.

① Consider Who You Intend to Communicate With when Choosing British Sign Language or Makaton

Consider Who You Intend to Communicate With when Choosing British Sign Language or Makaton
When you’re choosing a sign language book, if your aim is to communicate with deaf friends, colleagues or children you will probably be best off choosing a guide to British Sign Language (BSL). This is a fully developed language that uses hand gestures, lip movements and facial expressions to communicate a whole range of concepts. It has its own grammar structure and is always evolving and adapting like any other language.


In contrast, Makaton is a sign language developed from BSL to help children with development delays to share their thoughts more easily as they are learning to speak. Children with learning difficulties and those living with Down’s Syndrome (and their parents) often benefit greatly from using Makaton, as it allows kids to sign their thoughts and needs to adults and other children before their speech has developed fully.


Look out for a book on Makaton if you want to help younger children, with or without additional educational needs, to express their feelings through signs as a supplement to spoken language; it’s useful, enjoyable and can be a valuable bonding experience between parent and child.

② Check that a Book is Aimed at the Relevant Age Range

Check that a Book is Aimed at the Relevant Age Range
If you are teaching yourself a sign language as an adult, you’ll probably want to choose a book aimed at readers of 18 years and older. There are “Teach Yourself” style books which often have more detailed descriptions and complex concepts than books for parent and baby, where there’s lots of colour and illustrations.


Of course, many British Sign Language books are laid out in a way that could appeal to any age group, with an image to illustrate each word and sign. Adults may also enjoy more complicated analyses of sign language, such as books which look closely at the linguistics of signing.

③ Pick a Book With a Style and Learning Approach that Suits You and Your Area of Interest

You’ve decided to start learning a sign language, but it’s worth thinking about how the book will be laid out and the teaching methods it uses before you commit to buying. Take a moment to decide the type of approach that will benefit you most as a learner.

Dictionary-Style Books With Clear Illustrations of Hand Gestures Are Straightforward and Easy to Follow

Dictionary-Style Books With Clear Illustrations of Hand Gestures Are Straightforward and Easy to Follow
The simplest style of sign language book is one which is divided into vocabulary topics, with illustrations to explain hand shapes for each sign. These types of books exist with different age groups in mind, but ultimately take you through a variety of useful words, from the everyday to the more obscure. Choose a dictionary-style book if you’re a beginner or hope to teach signs to a little one.

Books Which Delve into Linguistic Theory Are Better for Academics or Those Seeking a Deeper Understanding

Books Which Delve into Linguistic Theory Are Better for Academics or Those Seeking a Deeper Understanding
For anyone seeking a more in-depth understanding of British Sign Language, it may be a good idea to look for a more complex exploration of the linguistics of this fascinating language. Some books simply teach the sign and variations for each word.


Others give the reader a more nuanced understanding of the evolution of a language, its intricacies and patterns. These types of sign language books are ideal for students seeking a more profound understanding of the language or using their findings for reference in wider-reaching projects.

Story Books with a Narrative Are Great for Practice – Especially With Little Ones

Story Books with a Narrative Are Great for Practice – Especially With Little Ones
You may favour a book that practises rather than teaches sign language – especially if you’re learning the skill with a baby or toddler. If this is the case, storybooks with a narrative that includes various basic signs are a great way to consolidate your child’s new-found skill.

④ Extras Such as a DVD or CD-Rom May Help Speed up the Learning Process

Extras Such as a DVD or CD-Rom May Help Speed up the Learning Process
Look out for additional learning resources that come with your book, such as a CD-ROM or DVD which should help flesh out your sign language learning experience, since it can sometimes be hard to follow written instructions describing gestures.


CD-Roms and DVDs are helpful since they allow you to watch the sign before copying it. This could be extra useful to complete beginners with no prior signing knowledge and generally aids understanding of dynamic signs which contain a simple movement.

Top 10 Best Sign Language Books in the UK

With these thoughts in mind, have a browse of our picks of the top 10 Sign Language books you can find online. From colourful collections of vocab for babies to in-depth explorations of the linguistics of signing, we’re sure you’ll find a book that’s right up your street.
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Points
1

Cath Smith

1. Let’s Sign 2nd Edition Dictionary – Cath Smith

Cath Smith 1. Let’s Sign 2nd Edition Dictionary – Cath Smith 1枚目

The Consumers Favourite Detailed BSL Bible

2

City Lit

2. British Sign Language for Dummies

City Lit 2. British Sign Language for Dummies 1枚目

Foolproof Language Learning From a Trusted Company

3

Annie Kubler

3. Child’s Play My First Signs Illustrated – Annie Kubler

Annie Kubler 3. Child’s Play My First Signs Illustrated – Annie Kubler 1枚目

‘Sturdy, Colourful & Clear’

4

Paul Redfern & Deafworks

4. Teach Yourself British Sign Language – Paul Redfern & Deafworks

Paul Redfern & Deafworks 4. Teach Yourself British Sign Language – Paul Redfern & Deafworks 1枚目

Learn Through Real-Life Examples

5

Rachel Sutton-Spence

5. The Linguistics of British Sign Language: An Introduction – Rachel Sutton-Spence

Rachel Sutton-Spence 5. The Linguistics of British Sign Language: An Introduction – Rachel Sutton-Spence 1枚目

Understand Signing Principles From a More Scientific Perspective

6

Cath Smith

6. Sign Language Link – Cath Smith

Cath Smith 6. Sign Language Link – Cath Smith 1枚目

Signs in your Pocket for on the Spot Sign Referencing

7

Margaret Walker

7. Makaton Core Vocabulary Signs

Margaret Walker 7. Makaton Core Vocabulary Signs 1枚目

Ideal for Children With Learning Difficulties

8

Sue Searle

8. At the Bottom of My Garden: A Rhyme and Sign Adventure – Sue Searle

Sue Searle 8. At the Bottom of My Garden: A Rhyme and Sign Adventure – Sue Searle 1枚目

An Engaging Journey through a Garden of Signs

9

Joe Jacobs

9. How to Sign with Babies with Terry the Monkey – Joe Jacobs

Joe Jacobs 9. How to Sign with Babies with Terry the Monkey – Joe Jacobs 1枚目

Charming Illustrations from a Fun Series

10

Cath Smith

10. Sign Language Companion – Cath Smith

Cath Smith 10. Sign Language Companion – Cath Smith 1枚目

Get the Basics Down With Bitesize Topics

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No.1

Cath Smith1. Let’s Sign 2nd Edition Dictionary – Cath Smith2nd Edition

£13.55

The Consumers Favourite Detailed BSL Bible

Topping our list is one of the highest-rated and best-selling sign-language books you can buy on eCommerce sites this year; Let’s Sign by Cath Smith. If the fact it uses Comic Sans on the cover weren’t enough to sway you, this book also has more than 200 five-star customer reviews.

Containing some 2,400 clear line-drawings of British Sign Language signs, it has been revised countless times since its initial publication in 2004. Ideal for beginners, the book contains images of more than 6000 everyday words with arrows illustrating movement. Top value!
No.2

City Lit2. British Sign Language for Dummies

£13.99

Foolproof Language Learning From a Trusted Company

The ‘For Dummies’ series is a hit for a reason; direct, easily digestible information that sticks in your mind and equips you with invaluable skills for life. The sign language edition comes with CD-ROM so you can watch video clips, play games and do practise activities on your PC.

This book guides you through the essentials of British Sign Language with a sense of humour and a user-friendly approach. It is laid out in a dictionary-style but divided by topic, not alphabetically, into chapters like clothing, weather, technology, free time and the deaf community.
No.3

Annie Kubler3. Child’s Play My First Signs Illustrated – Annie KublerIllustrated

£5.44

‘Sturdy, Colourful & Clear’

This gorgeous book with lots of cute illustrations is a wonderful way to bond with your baby while teaching them their first words in British Sign Language. It’s bright and colourful so will appeal to even tiny children and has lots of essential words from animals to actions.

Whether your child is deaf, hearing impaired or able to hear, these signs are useful to aid communication between parent and baby, as well as allowing tots to express themselves to adult caregivers and peers at nursery or play school. This Makaton compatible book has received excellent reviews from parents and childcare professionals alike.
No.4

Paul Redfern & Deafworks4. Teach Yourself British Sign Language – Paul Redfern & Deafworks

£18.99

Learn Through Real-Life Examples

Coming with its own DVD which helps you practise sign language by watching, completing tasks and copying new signs, this book is truly a comprehensive beginner’s guide to British Sign language, which would suit learners from their mid-teens and upwards.

Laid out in a dictionary-style with words and photos or drawings which illustrate how each sign works, this book also has additional notes on how facial expressions can alter the meaning of a sign and additional chapters on meaning, use and a little background on BSL.
No.5

Rachel Sutton-Spence5. The Linguistics of British Sign Language: An Introduction – Rachel Sutton-SpenceAn Introduction

£36.30

Understand Signing Principles From a More Scientific Perspective

This book is a great companion to any higher education course in language, communication, sociology, psychology or similar social science subject. It is described as the first detailed explanation of the way British Sign Language works and its author, Rachel Sutton-Spence has pulled together years of research to complete it.

The book is divided into chapters which cover topics including mouth patterns, manner and mood, the evolution of sign language away from less socially acceptable signs and constructing sentences. This paperback is a fascinating read with insights into this unique and powerful means of communication.
No.6

Cath Smith6. Sign Language Link – Cath Smith

£6.99

Signs in your Pocket for on the Spot Sign Referencing

This book is primarily aimed at parents and tutors using British Sign Language but could also work for learners of the language at any other level. It can easily be transported around with you for a glimpse at new vocab and signs on the go.

The line drawings make it easy to mimic and remember signs, with the succinct descriptions helping readers to understand any necessary movement or repetitions. Small enough to fit in your pocket and covering a decent range of words to get you started, this book is also popular with reviewers on eCommerce sites like Amazon.
No.7

Margaret Walker7. Makaton Core Vocabulary SignsSigns

£9.99

Ideal for Children With Learning Difficulties

Teaching signs to a child who has developmental delays can be one of the most rewarding ways to improve communication between a child and their parent, guardian or teacher. Makaton is a brilliant option for any child taking a little longer to build confidence in their speech.

This book of core vocabulary is the perfect starting point as it guides you clearly through the highest-frequency words with super-simple line drawings, descriptions of movements and additional notes on usage. A great addition to any childcare or education-based CV. This book is currently only available on Kindle, so if you prefer to have a physical form, you may prefer one of the other books.
No.8

Sue Searle8. At the Bottom of My Garden: A Rhyme and Sign Adventure – Sue SearleA Rhyme and Sign Adventure

£7.49

An Engaging Journey through a Garden of Signs

This is a lovely way to bond with your child and encourage them to practise newly-learned signs. It uses British Sign Language and guides you through a repetitive, rhyming storyline which allows your baby to make signs over and over until they feel comfortable using them.

With bright, heart-warming illustrations this book is sure to become a firm favourite at story- or bed-time. It’s a 32-page paperback, so it’s flexible enough to transport around with you and detailed enough to keep fidgety tots entertained for a good long while.
No.9

Joe Jacobs9. How to Sign with Babies with Terry the Monkey – Joe JacobsWith Terry the Monkey

£4.99

Charming Illustrations from a Fun Series

One in a series of quirkily illustrated guides to sign language, this book helps you teach your little one the first essential signs they’ll need to communicate basic thoughts and desires. According to the book’s blurb, babies can learn to speak from around 12 months but are able to sign at 7 months.

This series uses Terry the Monkey to guide you and your baby through signs for words like milk, Mummy, hug, play, change and bed. Other books in the collection include Halloween and Christmas vocabulary editions.
No.10

Cath Smith10. Sign Language Companion – Cath SmithA Handbook of British Signs

£8.55

Get the Basics Down With Bitesize Topics

This clearly structured book talks you through the basics of British Sign Language with young people in mind. The aim of the book is to ease you into everyday vocabulary and to give you the tools to have a comfortable conversation in sign language.

The words are divided into topics such as family, behaviour, feelings and relationships, with the sign for more than 400 terms clearly illustrated in a subtle colour palette. Every section has a puzzle at the end so you can test how much you’ve learned! But for those looking more at the linguistic aspects of sign, this may not be in-depth enough for them.

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Summary

So there you have it, ten brilliant sign language books you can buy online which should help you get to grips the British version of this clever form of communication. Whether you’re teaching sign language to your baby, your child or yourself, there are lots of wonderful options that suit every learning style. We hope you’ll find the perfect sign language book for you.


Author: Annie Hopkins

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The descriptions of each product is referenced from the content available from the manufacturer, e-commerce sites etc.

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