I am writing a story in which one of the main characters is Deaf, and therefore communicates with other leads using sign language. Not being a native speaker of English, I am having trouble with coming up the appropriate way to remind the reader that the characters are communicating using sign language. Here are a few examples I have thought of:
"How was your school today?" Anna signed to Emily. "What did you learn?"
"I can draw a butterfly now." Emily signed back with enthusiasm.
"We will go to the park tomorrow and chase a lot of butterflies." Anna signed Emily.
Is it correct to use "Anna signed to Emily", "Emily signed back" and "Anna signed Emily"? Are there better ways to phrase this?
Also, once the plot is set and the readers made aware that these two characters always use sign language to communicate, I am thinking of dropping the reference to sign language, and maybe mention it once in a while to remind the reader.
I would like to hear what native speakers think about this approach. Any tips/suggestions are very much welcome.