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Make Time To Talk

In school teachers know that it’s important to talk everyday with each child, using the kind of talk that builds language and thinking skills. Making time to talk helps young children learn new words and how to use language and how to tell you their ideas and needs, and that helps them have fun with language!

This make time to talk practice should also continue at home. Mealtimes can be good times to talk with children. Ask questions that encourage the child to think, questions involving predicting things that might happen, using imagination, explaining why things happened in a particular way. Be sure to converse with your child at eye level making eye contact. Extend your conversation with your child. Conversations should go back and forth with each person responding to the other. Tell stories to your child and ask them to tell you stories about their day in school and school friends.

Involve your children in group conversations at the dinner table. Make connections between learning units and themes at school, activities at home, books read at school as well as home, and your child’s own play to help build their understanding of word meanings.

Expand on your child’s language by repeating it with extensions ( adding descriptive words, using any words correctly that your child used incorrectly, adding to or building on the child’s ideas. Remember two-way conversations are best. Your child should be doing at least half the talking.

Texts such as books, posters, newspapers, and magazines provide things to talk about with children. Read them together, asking questions and discussing them as you go along. Act out stories with children, re-using words from a book you read aloud together. Encourage your child to retell the story with puppets, toys, and in their art.

Lastly language should include rich varied words that you want your child to learn to understand and use. Keep the conversation going through questions and comments. Make time to talk!