Get the most from Signed Stories

Signed Stories is designed for children – it’s a safe, fun space with exciting worlds for children to explore, and to enjoy some of the best modern picture books.

It’s also a resource for adults to use alongside children:

  • a signed summary of each book will tell you why we’ve chosen these stories – which ones are good for introducing new signs or adding props and toys and which ones are simply fun to share
  • the videos can be paused while you point to signs, illustrations and words
  • we’ll make recommendations of other books you might like

We have decided not to put a guide reading age on books featured on the Signed Stories website and mobile app. We share the view of education experts - and many of the authors and illustrators whose work appears on Signed Stories - that putting a reading age on a book may actively discourage some children from wanting to read it.

The confidence of children who struggle with reading may be damaged if they feel they cannot understand books intended for their ‘age group’. 

This is particularly important for children with special educational needs including autism, dyslexia, and those who are deaf and hard of hearing.

Instead, we have created a more subtle colour/color system, to guide adults as they choose books for children:

View the signed video explaining this text


Books with the simplest storylines and clearest vocabulary. These books are ideal for reading with toddlers and for children who are just starting to show an interest in books. The illustrations contain familiar images and are great for encouraging children to explore.

As they gain more confidence they may point to illustrations and name them and recognise keywords from the book.

These books are bright and engaging and we hope they will instill a lifelong love of reading in children, (and adults too!).

View the signed video explaining this text


Books with familiar storylines, introducing a wider vocabulary. These books are great for reading with children of all ages and abilities.

They have familiar storylines, many borrowed from traditional fairy tales and folk tales, brought up-to-date with modern language and clear illustrations. They’re perfect for bedtime reading.

Children will also enjoy these books on their own, picking out words and signs they already know, and retelling the stories using just the illustrations.

Many of these books have messages and morals - teachers will find them invaluable in the classroom for introducing new ideas and concepts and delivering the curriculum.

View the signed video explaining this text


Books with more complex storylines and varied sentence structure. These books can be enjoyed with children of all ages and abilities - children will enjoy the story and the illustrations even if they don’t understand it all or don’t pick up on the subtle messages.

Children who are becoming more confident at reading books with longer sentences will enjoy these books independently.

Some books in this group deal with complex and often difficult issues, which families and teachers can introduce to children in a safe and non-threatening way.

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Books for confident readers. These books will be enjoyed most by children who are confident readers, although other children will enjoy being read to or watching them being signed.

Stories are presented in a range of formats including detailed picture books, books with no or few illustrations, poems and rhymes, fiction and non-fiction.

Many of these books encourage children to form their own opinions as they’re reading and so relate them to their own experiences, and they are valuable additions to the classroom to help develop life skills.

View the signed video explaining this text