#don't just sign communicate

Don’t Just “Sign”… Communicate! Student Guides

The Start ASL courses are meant to be used with the Don’t Just “Sign”… Communicate! Student Guide series. They are your key to success! They’re the perfect supplements for our courses and are included with all of our paid course options and also available here separately in PDF and several other formats.

A Student’s Guide to ASL and the Deaf Community

This guide will give you insight into the ASL community and culture. It also provides a more comprehensive understanding of learning the language, which helps ensure success!

A Student’s Guide to Mastering ASL Grammar

This guide takes you through all the grammar rules of ASL so that you completely understand it. This is the only ASL grammar guide written especially for ASL students and is an essential part of your success.

A Student’s Guide to the Deaf Experience

This one-of-a-kind collection of stories written by members of the deaf and hard of hearing community will give you an exclusive and important glimpse into the unique world of the deaf that you will be joining.

A Student’s Guide to Deaf Community Terminology

This handy pocket guide ensures that you know all the proper terminology for the Deaf community. When you encounter unfamiliar terms, you can quickly look them up no matter where you are.

The Don't Just "Sign"... Communicate! Student Guides


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30 day money back guarantee

Does your college tuition guarantee that you will learn? Well, we do. We have been trusted in ASL education for over 15 years. Give us 30 days and we guarantee that you will see progress with your ASL skills. When you purchase the Don’t Just “Sign”… Communicate! Student Guides, you have a FULL 30 days to go through them 100% risk free. If you find that the books aren’t for you or that you just don’t have the time or motivation you thought you had to learn ASL – just contact us at https://support.startasl.com, let us know, and we’ll issue you a prompt and courteous refund.

“I am currently a student studying ASL/Interpreter Training. I am always looking for ways to supplement what I learn at college, these books were AMAZING! I honestly think they are better than the textbooks I used this past semester in a very well respected ITP program. I would definitely recommend Michelle Jay’s books to anyone who wants to learn “real” ASL, not just some watered down version of a mix of ASL and English. I have purchased all the books available by Ms. Jay and can’t wait to share them with my fellow students and my ASL professors.”
Bree Loggins

A Student’s Guide to ASL and the Deaf Community

How would you like to…

Have a Better Understanding of Sign Language and Become Part of the Deaf Community – Quickly and Easily!

Signing is only one part of learning American Sign Language.

One of the first things you’ll learn about ASL products is that most of the time, you have to get several different products in order to get ALL of the information you need. That changes now!

Sign language is a complex language, but it is beautiful and it can be learned easily if you have all the resources you need at your disposal.

Our Guide Gives You EVERYTHING You Need…and More.

One of the biggest benefits of Don’t Just “Sign”…Communicate!: A Student’s Guide to ASL and the Deaf Community is that we provide you with information you need but didn’t know to ask for. The package is absolutely jam-packed with benefits:

  • You’ll quickly learn the best ways to learn ASL so that you can begin communicating quickly.
  • You’ll receive the most essential Deaf culture and Deaf history information available.
  • Information about careers in ASL from the professionals.
  • Common terminology used in the Deaf community.
  • The number one ASL resources available today.
  • And so much more!

The Problem with Other Products

This guide is the most comprehensive guide on the market, in that it covers such a huge variety of topics for ASL students rather than most, which focus on one topic. In addition to that, many ASL guides were created by individuals who were never ASL students, so it’s difficult for them to understand precisely what an ASL student needs in order to thrive!

But Rest Assured…

Don’t Just “Sign”…Communicate!: A Student’s Guide to ASL and the Deaf Community was created specifically to help you understand ASL more effectively. The perfect companion for an ASL course, this guide supplements the course and offers up the best possible information to help you better understand your ASL course.

Without a doubt, it is the best student’s guide to ASL and the Deaf community in existence, and provides numerous benefits for individuals who are taking ASL classes.

Still not convinced?…

See What Experts and Our Readers Are Saying:

This book is a real gem! Informative, intriguing, and an easy read — it is your ticket to a new world of friendships and cultural understanding! When it’s time to step out of the classroom and into the Deaf Community–Michelle Jay’s advice and insights are just what you need! Remember what you learned from this book and you’ll do great!

Bill Vicars
William G. Vicars, Ed.D. Associate Professor of ASL and Deaf Studies, Also known as “Dr. Bill” of, Lifeprint.com

Whenever I am questioned to offer a suggestion of a good, easy to read book about sign language and the Deaf community, I now have a clear answer… this book packs a ton of useful information in one spot. A must have for any new sign language student!

John Miller Signing Savvy
John Miller Co-Founder, Educator, Signing Savvy LLC

A Student’s Guide to ASL and the Deaf Community is an essential guide for those thinking of learning ASL, considering a career working within the Deaf community or looking to understand Deaf culture. It truly is the bible for “everything you need to know but didn’t know to ask.” This book is filled with all the important information you need in one place and is truly an amazing read.

Pearl Feder L.C.S.W., Editor & Coordinator, SayWhatClub

As a Deaf person who hails from Gallaudet University with Masters Studies in ASL Linguistics, taught ASL at various state universities for over 25 years, trained sign language interpreters, and served on the board for interpreter quality assurance qualification programs, I definitely suggest this book for the beginning ASL signer. Communication involves so much more than just learning, using, and understanding the language. This book smoothly pulls it all together while inspiring the novice learner. I whole-heartedly and with honor recommend this book.

MJ Williams Author & Website Creator/Owner, www.babies-and-sign-language.com

Hearing folks are often clueless as to what the Deaf-World is really like, really about, and they are often not sure what the best approach is to finding out, particularly if they have a goal to learning proper American Sign Language. Michelle Jay’s Don’t Just Sign…Communicate: A Student’s Guide to ASL and the Deaf Community offers a fantastic way to self learn. I love this concise, friendly reference book! It describes the history of the Deaf-World; beliefs, values, behaviors, traditions, and practices within that world; Deaf Education; ASL Careers; Deaf-World terminology, Deaf-World technology, and much more. In short, the book is an engaging summary of the whole Deaf culture in the US. It includes information on how to become meaningfully and respectfully involved with ASL and Deaf communities. Readers even have a chance to test themselves in the final chapter to gauge what they’ve learned from the book.

Michelle Jay has given students of American Sign Language (ASL) a true treasure in her new book; Don’t Just “Sign”… Communicate: A Student’s Guide to ASL and the Deaf Community. Without this book it is similar to learning to swim without ever taking off one’s floaters; you may be able to stay afloat but will never learn to swim. Jay explains many crucial elements of the proper way to sign and how to integrate into the deaf community. In addition she provides many dos and don’ts, so you will not embarrass yourself when signing. She explains the history of the deaf culture which is something that many deaf people are quite proud of and cherish. There is a section of deaf terminology which is important information. The other section I appreciate is a comprehensive list of other quality resources. I highly recommend the entire series of three books.

An ASL Student Review from Amazon.com

A Student’s Guide to Mastering ASL Grammar

Finally! An ASL Grammar Guide that will allow you to…

Sign Correctly and Avoid the Very Common Problem of Reverting Back to English Grammar Rules!

Have CONFIDENCE in your signing abilities with the Student’s Guide to Mastering ASL Grammar!

Sign language is a visual language; completely separate from any other language and with its own grammatical rules. Often times, without the right resources, you may learn incorrect ways to sign. The bad thing about that is once habits are started, they can be very stubborn, so it’s difficult to retrain yourself to sign the proper way.

The Student’s Guide to Mastering ASL Grammar provides the fundamentals of perfect ASL grammar so you can sign confidently

Students taking ASL classes are often expected to pick up on the grammar rules themselves, by being a part of the deaf community, or by immersing themselves in sign language from the beginning. If you’re learning on your own or you’re unable to sign with others often, it can be extremely difficult to pick up these rules. This guide will help you:

  • Make sure you’re learning American Sign Language.
  • Learn ASL signs and vocabulary concepts you won’t find in most ASL dictionaries.
  • Learn ASL phonology and how signs are formed.
  • Learn ASL morphology and how to inflect signs to create meaning.
  • Learn ASL syntax and how to form correct sentences.
  • And so much more! 

Don’t Just “Sign”… Communicate!: A Student’s Guide to Mastering ASL Grammar provides you with the confidence you need to communicate fluently and correctly. Unfortunately, many signers go years without picking up the proper grammar, even when they’re conversing with other signers regularly. You don’t have to let this happen to you!

Get your copy of The Student’s Guide to Mastering ASL Grammar now!

See What Experts and Our Readers Are Saying:

Stop! Don’t learn another sign until you’ve read Michelle Jay’s A Student’s Guide to Mastering ASL Grammar! Clear, easy to understand, and loaded with excellent examples this book is one that every ASL student and teacher ought to keep “handy!”

Bill Vicars
William G. Vicars, Ed.D. Associate Professor of ASL and Deaf Studies, Also known as “Dr. Bill” of, Lifeprint.com

There is so much more to signing than just learning the hand shapes and movements. ASL is all about its own syntax, phonology and grammar. This book does a great job of exploring what makes ASL its own unique language. Start ASL has done it again!

John Miller Signing Savvy
John Miller Co-Founder, Educator, Signing Savvy LLC

Think you can’t learn American Sign Language? Well, think again. Start ASL’s book, A Student’s Guide to Mastering ASL Grammar makes learning ASL grammar and syntax not only fun but easy to understand. This guide gives you the tools you need to feel comfortable communicating in the Deaf community.

Pearl Feder L.C.S.W., Editor & Coordinator, SayWhatClub

Studying ASL Linguistics at Gallaudet University was truly an eye opening experience, even for me, a Deaf person, who has already mastered American Sign Language since childhood. Combining all of the grammatical aspects of ASL to form a complete idea is not easy for the beginning signer. Luckily, A Student’s Guide to Mastering ASL Grammar explains all of this, how to execute, and then some! Great job to Michelle Jay for making this available and so clearly for the new and not-so-new signer.

MJ Williams Author & Website Creator/Owner, www.babies-and-sign-language.com

At first when I downloaded this book, I was surprised to see it was so short–but after reading a bit I quickly realized it is packed *full* of good information. The author doesn’t waste space explaining vocabulary words or such, she expects you’ll have an ASL dictionary and probably had at least some ASL instruction before, too. To that end, I wouldn’t recommend this book for ASL beginners–you’ll want to have had some time learning the basics before drinking from this particular fire hose. Nevertheless, even as many of these grammar points were not a surprise to me after the ASL classes I’ve had, it’s really helpful for me to see them all laid out clearly like this, so I suspect I will keep referring to the book for reference and/or practice.

Eric W. Wallace Review from Amazon.com

Learned so much from this book! This is a must have in the library of any person interested in or learning ASL (American Sign Language). This book includes more than just how to form the signs correctly it gives background information on how to use the signs in ASL and in which instances there are other acceptable interpretations. Anyone from a very new beginner to a more advanced learner can find very useful information. The illustrations are very easy to under and the explanations are covered with very clear examples. I am using this book side-by-side with my course material. You will be happy you made this purchase.

A Student’s Guide to the Deaf Experience

The first ever collection of stories by the deaf and hard of hearing that will give you…

An Intimate Journey into the Heart of the Deaf Community

Get a glimpse into a world you will never forget.

A Student’s Guide to the Deaf Experience prepares you to interact with the deaf and hard of hearing – in a knowledgeable and respectful way – by giving you an exclusive glimpse into this rich and diverse community.

This eye-opening book will ignite your senses and eliminate any misconceptions you may have about the deaf community.

Delve into this informative and entertaining collection of personal stories culled from the writings of talented Deaf, deaf, hard of hearing, and late-deafened people.

Experience the world from their perspectives and learn what questions and comments are best avoided and what common courtesies are most appreciated. By reading this book, you can immerse yourself in the textured world of the deaf community.

Pulsing with vibrant stories, this carefully compiled anthology swings the door open wide and invites you in. Run with “Broken Ears,” a Chippewa native whose struggle to triumph over discrimination is compounded by deafness. “Touch the sound of snowflakes” with percussionist Evelyn Glennie. Experience the isolation of “Deaf Brown Gurl,” an exotic beauty yearning to fit in. And “follow the music through vibrations” with grand illusionist Sam Sandler. Get to know them and many others. Their stories will reach right off the page, grab you by the heart, and pull you in… 

This book is meant as a guide to equip ASL students, but it is so much more… It is a book for the masses – to be read and reread, to be savored – for it will resonate with you long after the last page is turned…

This book is an amazing read and takes you inside the lives and experiences of many Deaf people who have certainly made their mark in the world, whether in the past or in present day, explaining in full the difference between the two. Some of their experiences in growing up were harsh due to discrimination and bullying at being Deaf, but it never let the light from within them stop shining. I wish I could give it SIX stars out of five… such a treasured compendium!

Rosie Malezer Review from Amazon.com

I’m really interested in ASL, so I assumed the book was going to be mostly about ASL and capital-D Deafhood. So I was really pleasantly surprised that the scope of the book is much larger than that, with essays from Deaf, deaf, HH, lipreading, signing, non-signing, hearing aid users, CI users, 100% hearing loss, late-deafened adults, and just about every other type of hearing loss/deaf gain perspective you can think of, both from the U.S. and England.

Heather Torrance Review from Amazon.com

A Student’s Guide to Deaf Community Terminology

Start ASL is now offering a priceless companion for ASL students…

Check for Validity, Make Quick References, and Study with the Ultimate Pocket Guide Reference Book!

The Student’s Pocket Guide to Deaf Community Terminology allows you to:

  • Quickly and easily find the meaning of a community term.
  • Study terminology whenever you have a spare moment.
  • Ensure that you’re participating correctly in conversations.
  • Build confidence for signing and communicating.
  • Study with a quick and convenient method no matter where you are.
  • And more! 

This is also a wonderful gift for any student who is studying American Sign Language, and a priceless resource!

Fits Conveniently in Your Pocket – Don’t Leave Home without It!

Maybe you’re riding the city bus home and you want to study Deaf community terminology while you drive. Perhaps you’ve encountered a specific acronym and you want to know what it means. No matter what situation you find yourself in, you can easily and quickly refer to your Student’s Pocket Guide to Deaf Community Terminology.

It can be difficult to communicate without understanding a particular group of individuals’ terminology, and in some cases, not knowing can leave you feeling a little embarrassed. You never have to feel this way again, because no matter where you’re at, you can look it up quickly and easily to determine precisely what a specific term means.

I took a sign language class years ago and wanted to relearn it because I own a service oriented business. Learning sign language is great, but I wanted a little more understanding and this book gives a comprehensive list of words and acronyms along with some interesting info.

This little book is a brief, pocket dictionary of terms one can encounter in ASL / Deaf-World studies and interactions. This guide contains words and acronyms used in association with Deaf culture, services, education, technology, and discussion…This quick reference pocket guide might be useful for some people who are participating in Deaf-World events, ASL Workshops, Deaf Education seminars, research, classes, presentations, and activities like these.

“Thank you for your site and books! You have the resources all in one place. I’m teaching ASL to beginners and was trying to find a good book/site to direct them too. Your site is exactly what they need. I will direct them here and suggest they buy your books as I have. Keep up the great work!”
“I am an ASL/Interpreter student at a Texas community college and I have to say that your new books in the series DJSC! are amazing! I actually told the staff there that these books are better than the ASL 4 textbooks we used last semester!”
Bree L.

Frequently Asked Questions

You will need a webcam or other video recording device if you want to record yourself signing for the Expressive Signing Assignments.

And for ASL 4, you will need to purchase (or borrow from your local library) the book Deaf in America: Voices from a Culture by Carol Padden and Tom Humphries to complete some Reading Assignments in the course. This is one of the best books about Deaf Culture and you will not regret adding this book to your collection.

Yes! If you’re still not sure that the Start ASL Offline Course is right for you, please download our sample here and see for yourself. It’s the most comprehensive, inclusive package available today. Created by ASL professionals, our curriculum aims to fully immerse you into American Sign Language so you can learn to sign fluently and accurately.

For mobile device users, we suggest downloading the files to your computer first, unzipping the files, and then transferring them to your device. You can also use an app like WinZip or iZip for Apple devices or WinZip or AndroZip for Android devices to unzip the zip folders directly on your device. Also, make sure you have programs available on your device to open PDF, HTML, and MP4 video files.

If you have a DVD burner and the skills necessary to do this, then yes! If you’re able to do that, you can use a DVD player to watch the videos instead of a computer or mobile devic

The zipped course folders are roughly 400 MB each. So, for each course, make sure you have 400 MB of space on your computer or device. Or, for all three courses, 1.2 GB total.

The Start ASL Offline Course is meant to be used by one student. If multiple students from different families will be learning together, then multiple packages should be purchased to accommodate the number of students in the class. If you have more than 5 students, be sure to take a look at our licensing options

You need an internet connection to initially download all the materials. We link to online resources sometimes in the curriculum, but we include all required readings in the downloads.

Other Formats Available

We also have paperback, hardcover, Kindle, NOOK, and iBook versions available!

A student's guide to mastering ASL grammar
A student's Guide to the deaf experience
A student's pocket guide to community terminology

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