This post is about the best sites to learn ASL online. That is, learning American Sign Language online.
It is meant to serve as a resource to others who would like to learn ASL but may not have access to physical sign language classes.
This is available in a downloadable PDF for my patrons, linked here.
It’s at the end of this post for people who benefit from access to PDF’s.
My interest in learning American Sign Language (ASL) was a long time coming.
Although I am myself deaf, I tried to “pass” as hearing and focused on lip reading to get by.
This is exhausting, and with my profound hearing loss, I would like to be able to relax and communicate with others.
I started learning ASL when I found that I was expecting a child with Down syndrome, and that ASL is supposed to be very helpful for people with Down syndrome (fyi: it is!). I learned through Berkeley City College, and then switched to learning ASL online when we were living off the grid, then traveling in Mexico. I live in Hawai’i now, and there is an awesome, vibrant d/Deaf community around me, so I can learn ASL online on my own, and then just be a community member!
So, here are a bunch of sites that are fantastic places to get you or your child going in learning ASL until the time comes that you can join an actual d/Deaf community.
(note: the links are in the headings)
The Best Sites to Learn ASL Online for Adults, Kids, Homeschoolers
In This Post You Will Find:
Super awesome site. Free lessons, fingerspelling, dictionary, the whole shebang. Oh, and my favorite, Deaf Jokes page!!
Two Deaf men are signing to each other.
The first man asks, “What did your wife say when you got home late last night?
The second man replies, “She swore a blue streak”
And the first man asks, “What did you do then?”
And the second man replies, “I turned out the light.”
Lifeprint is awesome, and the guy who does most of it is Bill Vicars, who has a great YouTube channel on learning ASL. It’s linked here: https://www.youtube.com/user/billvicars/videos
This site kind of overwhelmed me with all the ads and stuff for sale. So far it seems like a lot of dictionaries, including “religious” ones (- if you are wanting to teach your child Bible signs, this is probably your stop).
You are able to “check out” videos, DVD’s and books, a’la netflix.
They even give you a postage paid mailer to send them back. In addition to the DVD’s, they have streaming online videos and offer all kinds of things for ASL instruction, deaf culture and children – really, really cool site.
Check out the lessons available for ASL instruction here. Sweeeeeet!
This has a ton of online ASL classes here – both free and paid courses with homework and everything. I love that they have a section for homeschoolers, they have tutors and an online practice community too!
This is primarily a site for baby sign – which I am not looking for. But they are some cool links to places to learn other languages – Latvian sign, anyone?
It’s an app (see above) and also a site.
It’s a brilliant video-based signing dictionary.
Very easy to use and free.
More Sites to Learn ASL Online:
This is the Deaf blogging community. It’s awesome because there are a lot of vlogs – video blogs – a great way to interact with real people, virtually.
If you haven’t already tapped into this truly astonishing system of catchy music + signs, well, here’s your introduction now – it is the easiest possible way to teach babies and kids basic ASL, both online and with DVD’s.
They have a slightly more advanced system with sentences and grammar, etc, but it does not go much beyond basic functioning ASL (“what’s your name?” and so forth.
This is a comprehensive study program that seems to pick up where Signing Time left off. Coupled together, they are a truly comprehensive system.
“Sign language resources and extracurricular ASL (American Sign Language) materials for language+culture enthusiasts, ASL students and learners, instructors and teachers, interpreters, homeschoolers, parents and professionals for practice or self-study.”
YouTube has a lot of kick-ass d/Deaf vloggers now. Here’s a post on some of the best vloggers to check out.
Apps to Teach ASL
There are a lot of fantastic apps for learning ASL online – here are some of the best:
- ASL Dictionary: comprehensive ASL dictionary with videos of more than 5,000 signs
- The ASL App: a hip app designed by Deaf ASL users to teach ASL (the one that Nyle is in!)
- Signing Savvy: learn ASL and join in conversations and more with the membership site
- SignSchool: vocabulary builder, dictionary
- YouTube: subscribe to Deaf YouTubers, search for classes. Download them through YouTube Red.
- Marlee Signs: learn ASL with Marlee Matlin
- ASL Translator: type in the English and get the ASL translation
- ASL Dictionary: over 5,000 signs, multiple ways to sign the same word and does not require internet
Learning ASL online is not optimal.
American Sign Language is not Latin; it’s a real, living, breathing language. As such, ASL needs to be used with communication between people. That’s the whole point.
Get started with learning ASL online with some of the sites and apps linked in this post!
And then move on and into the deaf community