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American Sign Language Book Top Picks

A Sign Language Book (or a few) is a must-have for any ASL student, whether for a class or personal use. These books are well-known and well regarded. Most of these are purchased as required reading for an ASL class. You'll find yourself using your sign language book time and again to learn this beautiful language.

Amazon regularly provides the best deals on the web for these ASL books, videos and learning aids. All shopping is done with Amazon, through their secure servers, so you can shop with confidence.

Sign Language Book Top Picks

As rated by buyers on

1. Signing Naturally: Student Workbook, Units 1-6 (Book & DVDs)

For many students over the years, Signing Naturally is their go-to learning aid. This sign language book is well-reviewed and it's an Amazon best seller for good reason. Signing Naturally is used in classroom settings, and recommended by professionals. This is a series, and progresses by level. Beginners will naturally start at Level 1 - This workbook and DVD set contains units 1 - 6 for Level 1. It's a student's "starting point." Most students will continue to progress through the Signing Naturally materials, and continually refer to their workbooks and DVD's for refreshers.

Amazon review comments:

"I teach ASL (American Sign Language), and have for many years. This series matches my teaching style, and is excellent for total immersion. As a Deaf person, I had used many of the strategies listed in the book before it came out, and Hearing instructors sometimes did not agree with me. When this series came out, I felt validated and vindicated. Excellent resource. Buy it!"

"This book is excellent. Nothing short of. I initially bought this book for self study, then I decided to take a class at Gallaudet University. I was very happy to not buy a different book when I went; it turned out this was the required book! Level 1 ASL at Gallaudet goes through this entire book. It comes with 2 DVDs and lots of assignments (which many have the answers for in the back of the book)."

"After having used this text in ASL 101 as well as another for the same coursework, I feel comfortable calling this text effective at what it's meant to do. It's a workbook, so be prepared to use it to find your homework assignments and as a resource for tests. I feel my professor used it to guide the course along in an organized, straightforward way."

2. Talking With Your Hands, Listening With Your Eyes: A Complete Photographic Guide to American Sign Language

This popular sign language book has a well-rounded approach. It boasts over 1,400 photographs, sections on history, community, handshapes, signing etiquette, fingerspelling and more. It also features a "Visualize" tip that helps connect a sign with it's meaning for easier remembering. With an average rating of over 4.5 stars out of five, it's no wonder this is a Top Pick.

Amazon review comments:

"One of the best sign language learning books available. The pictures and desciptions of how to make the sign are excellent. However, no one book has every sign. Buy this for your personal library, it is the clearest book on how to make a particular sign."

"This book has quickly become one of my favorite sign language reference books. Though I prefer a dictionary when searching for a particular sign (Perigee and Random House are my favorites), this book is excellent for studying and increasing vocabulary. My favorite feature is that there are two pictures per sign in most cases. You can see how the sign starts and how it finishes versus trying to discern the motions from arrows in other books I've used. I also appreciate the selections throughout the book on deaf history, culture, technology, etc."

3. Signing Illustrated (Revised Edition): The Complete Learning Guide

Signing Illustrated uses the approach of presenting signs by category. It is clear, easy-to-understand, and recommended for beginners to ASL. You'll find vocabulary and fingerspelling exercises, sign matching and memory aids, and of course plenty of illustrations!

Typical Amazon review comments:

"Being a Deaf American Sign Language instructor, I spend much of my time searching for resources regarding ASL vocabulary, syntax, and non-manual communications. "Signing Illustrated" is the perfect book to start you out. This book includes 1500 signs, very clearly illustrated with memory aids, as well as help tp practice fingerspelling. Like any ASL book you'll come across, there are some regional differences in the signs, but they're few and far between. The vocabulary is listed in categories instead of alphabetical order. This means that you can learn all of your feeling words or all of your action words without having to sift through the book and find each one. I love that about this! ...No matter what your reason is to learn ASL, this is a wonderful book to get you started. HIGHLY recommended from a deafie! :v)"

"This book is absolutely the BEST in its class! As a Deafie myself, I would tell anyone without hesitation that this is the book to get if you want an easy and readable access to sign langauge. A definite MUST- READ!"

4. Basic Course in American Sign Language

This 4+ star Sign Language book is a highly regarded as a strong tool for learning, and is commonly used as the required text for ASL classes. It combines vocabulary and sentence structure, and is broken into 22 lessons with periodic drills and reviews of the material learned so far.

Amazon review comments:

"If you are looking for a sign language book to help you learn this is the number one book. It gives you lessons for easy to remember words. It is a beginner to every day use sign book. It is a must buy if you are interested in sign language. Iam currently taking my 2 course in american sign language it helps me understand sign and remember the basic sign language to help me anytime. It has a spiral bound for easy access and a purfect study guide. A must have."

"I have been using American Sign Language for over 23 years and this book is the best I have seen for educational use. The illustrations are clear and the teaching of the syntax of ASL is well done in this book."

5. Learning American Sign Language: Levels I & II--Beginning & Intermediate (2nd Edition)

This textbook is frequently used in class setting. In Learning American Sign Language: Levels I & II - Beginning & Intermediate, students will find helpful illustrations for learning vocabulary, lessons centered around real-life conversations and situations, many notes, exercises and charts for learning letters and numbers. This practical Sign Language book has helped many advance in learning American Sign Language.

Amazon review comment:

"Learning a new language can be hard, and stressful. This is a well written book with lots of photographs to follow along with the classes. Also you can purchase a DVD that goes along with the book. The basic structure is getting you right into "speaking", and not all the grammer that most languages bore you with right up front. I've already learned about 5-6 communication words, phrases in about 30 min. before even getting to my first class!!! For learning sign language the ASL recomends this book and so do I. Two thumbs up!"

Of course, your Sign Language book should be used as a tool and supplement to class instruction and real-world practice. Nothing can replace actually signing with someone! If you don't see what you are looking for, here is a more extensive selection at Amazon: Sign Language Book List

Also browse:

American Sign Language Dictionaries

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