Why talking is important

Father talking to babyChildren learn language and other literacy skills by listening to their parents and others talk. Make sure your child has lots of opportunities to talk with you, not just listen to you talk.

How to encourage talking

Help your child be ready to read with these simple activities every day.

  • Respond to what your child says and extend the conversation. "Yes, we did see a truck like that last week. It's called a bulldozer."
  • Stretch your child's vocabulary. Repeat what your child says and use new words. "You want a banana? That's a very healthy choice."
  • If English isn't your first language, speak to your child in the language you know best. This allows you to explain things more fluently so your child will learn more.

Looking for more ways to encourage talking?

  • When you see a birthday cake, ask your child to tell you about a birthday party they recently attended. Or, ask them about what they want to do at their next birthday party. Talk to them about what they did during the day, or what is happening on their favorite television show.
  • Instead of pointing out "flowers," call them dandelions, violets or daisies. Look through a box of crayons and identify different shades of a color. Point to and name various body parts.
  • Let your child tell you about pictures in a book, or retell a story with dolls, puppets or props.
  • Ask children to find particular letters in books or while you are running errands. Ask them to find the letter at the beginning of their name.


Encourage talking with these books.




Rhymes, songs and stories

Encourage talking with this story.