Signing while reading books with your baby is really a lot of fun. Since they don’t understand every word, they’re more interested in the pictures anyway. Doing signs for what you see in the pictures engages your baby way more than just reading the text or even making up your own story. And then, like with everything, your baby can tell you what she notices and finds most interesting on each page.
I read with my baby each night before I put him to bed and he has a few favourite books that we read all the time. One is called Owen and Mzee, about a real-life unlikely friendship between a tortoise and a hippopotamus. My son will sign TURTLE and HIPPO, but his favourite page has a green pick-up truck being followed by 20 or more men and boys who had just rescued the hippopotamus. I was getting bored of always finding the “truck page,” so I started to ask my son to find a BOY, or a man wearing a HAT, or someone carrying their SHOES. All of a sudden there was so much more we could talk about on the page!
We also have a book about Noah’s ark that has dozens of different animals to sign. I point to them and ask him to do the sign or I do the sign and ask him to find them on the page. He also enjoys On the Night You Were Born with its beautiful paintings. It became a favourite after he discovered the moon. It’s also the only book he has with a picture of a dolphin in it. I did the sign for several weeks and didn’t think he was paying attention as he would never spend much time on that page. Then one day, he did the sign without prompting as we read the book!