Learning ASL: The Alphabet

To begin my learning journey with ASL, I thought it was best to start with the basics: the alphabet!

The ASL alphabet has a specific sign for each of the letters found in the English alphabet, and many of the signs look similar to how we would write them in English. For example, W is a “w” shape made with the fingers, so is C, L and O.

Photo Credit: lifeprint.com

To begin learning the alphabet, I decided it would be easier to watch someone else do it. The website I had chosen to follow along with (lifeprint.com) did not have the alphabet available in video form, so I went to trusty old YouTube, and typed “ASL Alphabet” into the search bar. The very first video that popped up turned out to be the one I liked the best, because I thought it was good pace to follow along to.

via YouTube

I practiced along with the video for awhile, and found that the more difficult letters for me were G, P and K. After awhile though, I started to feel pretty confident!

After I felt pretty confident with the alphabet, I returned to lifeprint.com to begin lesson #1. However, I realized pretty quickly that I disliked their layout, and the vocabulary lists seemed to be random and illogical.

Lesson One Vocabulary via lifeprint.com

So, I decided to switch resources, and went back to Google to find a new website to use. I typed in “learn ASL online”, and a I picked through a few before settling on http://www.signlanguage101.com, because it is extremely user-friendly, uses videos for its lessons, and the videos are in an order which makes sense for users when trying to effectively learn the language.

via signlanguage101.com

I decided to start with Lesson #1: “Gestures and Body Language”.

via YouTube

What I really liked about Lesson #1 was the way that the instructor speaks to the learner, and begins with gestures that are probably already known to the learner, making them feel more at ease and capable of completing the task. The instructor was easy to follow and went at a good pace, and introduced a good base set of vocabulary words, including ones that are probably already known to the learner.

This coming week I will attempt to complete lessons two and three, which are “ABC’s, Colors & Pronouns” and “Everyday Signs and Common Phrases”. Continue with me on my learning journey here on my blog, or by following me on Twitter @ms_kday.


Learning Project – ASL

For my learning project, I have decided to learn American Sign Language. I decided to choose this for my project because I feel like it is a useful skill to have, especially in the classroom, and it is something that I have always wanted to learn. Right now, I only remember a little bit of the alphabet from when I was taught when I was younger.

For this project, I will be using the website lifeprint.com, which features what’s called the “ASLU” — American Sign Language University. Within this site there are lessons and units which range in difficulty and are sequential. The lessons feature videos, as well as clear objectives and targets for each lesson. I plan on following these lessons while adding and taking out what I feel is necessary. For example, the first lesson doesn’t teach the alphabet, but I want to learn the alphabet first before I continue. I hope to reach at least the 15th lesson by the end of the term.  I’m really glad to have found this resource, which will allow me to keep track of my progress, and which I could use in a future lesson plan.  I’m really excited to get started on the project and see just how proficient I can be in ASL by the end of the term!