Bright Signs Learning™ originated from Shelby Rideout’s passion for helping children to enjoy learning. From her time spent with children while obtaining academic credentials in both education and sign language, as well as her professional experience in education, Shelby’s philosophy has always been that the most effective learning happens when children are having fun — simple as that. Seeing a child’s face brighten when a difficult concept was finally understood (the “light bulb” going on), coupled with the success she witnessed using sign language to enhance her own children’s ability to communicate at a young age, the idea for Bright Signs Learning was born.
Having been a sign language interpreter for over a decade prior to the arrival of any children in the Rideout family, Shelby already knew the benefits of using sign language with babies. She had seen firsthand how it could help with parent-child bonding and could reduce frustration by providing children (and parents!) a means to communicate before they were able to do so verbally. In 2010, Shelby and her husband, Ken, adopted their oldest child, Tensae, from Ethiopia, and the following year in 2011 welcomed their son Jack’s birth. Soon thereafter, Shelby found herself in her basement combining her education background with her lifelong passion for arts and crafts, to make a series of educational home videos for Tensae and later Jack.
Shelby was encouraged—if not a little surprised—by how effective these early efforts were. By watching her videos and accompanying this with play-based educational activities, Tensae, Jack, and now Luke (born 2013), all used sign language to communicate, identify letters, and even read by the age of 2.
As other moms, dads, and caregivers witnessed these educational developments and milestones, they have asked how they might set their own children down a similar path of reading and loving books. While Shelby and Ken have shared her videos with a few family and friends, they decided in 2015 to move the studio out of the basement and to bring the Bright Signs Learning program to a wider audience. We hope you enjoy!