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Winter Reading Fun: I Love You in Any Language

I Love You in Any Language

Every culture has words and symbols to express love for family and friends and this project features one you may not know about – American Sign Language (ASL).

The National Association of the Deaf describes ASL is a visual language. “With signing, the brain processes linguistic information through the eyes. The shape, placement, and movement of the hands, as well as facial expressions and body movements, all play important parts in conveying information.”

The project featured today is a hand making the sign for “I Love You” in ASL: The thumb and index finger forming the “L,” the pinky forming the “I” and the whole incorporating the sign for the letter “Y” (pinky and thumb extended). See it in action in this video:

Sign language is more than just spelling out words. There is a vocabulary of special words and phrases. Sometimes you can see a sign language interpreter on television or on the computer, especially when a governor or a president is giving a speech. It’s interesting to watch them translate what we hear into visual signs that are understood by those who know sign language.

Get started in American Sign Language by learning the sign language alphabet. There are free lessons, printables and sign language coloring pages at Start ASL (and paid lessons, also, for those who wish to learn more) – and check out some books about using sign language! Little Beauty by Anthony Browne is about a lonely gorilla who knows sign language and Handtalk Zoo by George Ancona features children at a zoo learning the signs for various animals. With Love from Koko by Faith McNulty tells of the author’s visit in 1976 with a real gorilla who was fluent in sign language.

Find the free printables here:

Sign Language Alphabet | 6 Free Downloads to Learn It Fast

Make a simple card to show your love!

What you need:

  • paper or cardstock, 10″ x 7″
  • assorted scrap paper
  • scissors
  • marker
  • pencil
  • gluestick

What you do:

  1. Fold the 10″ x 7″ cardstock in half to make a 5 x 7 card.
  2. Find a piece of scrap paper that is large enough to fit your hand and trace around your hand on the paper using the marker.
  3. Cut out the hand.
  4. If using solid color paper, look at the palm of your hand, and draw some of the lines you see onto the paper hand. If your paper has a pattern, this probably won’t show, so you can skip this step.
  5. Take the two middle fingers, fold them over and glue the fingertips to the palm of the hand. Press hard to be sure the glue sticks!
  6. Glue the back of the hand to the front of the card.
  7. Find smaller scrap pieces and fold each one, then cut half a heart shape along the fold so that you have a whole heart when you open it.
  8. Make as many small hearts as you wish, and glue them to the hand and the card.
  9. Use the marker to write “In any language …” on the front of the card.
  10. Write a personal message inside the card and give it to someone you love!

TIP: The Main Library on DeMott Lane has craft packets available at the Children’s Desk with lots of paper and assorted materials – including the paper you need to make this card! Stop by and pick one up – or call the Children’s Desk to ask for “Front Door Pickup” if you can’t come into the building.

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