Talking Teaches Early Literacy!

Talking is one of the most important things we can do with our children to get them ready to learn and to read. Talking teaches all of the early literacy skills and components young children need to know to be ready to learn to read. When we engage children in any of the other practices Singing, Reading, Playing, or Writing we should also always be Talking! How often we talk with children and how we talk makes all the difference.

What Kind of Talking?

All children hear 'business talk' - talking about what needs to get done, such as 'It's time to go,' or 'Wash your hands,' or 'Don't touch that!' Children hear approximately 600 business talk words per hour.

Some children hear far more words than that - 1500 more words per hour. Those words are 'extra talk' or 'play talk' or 'language dancing.'

Extra talk:

It's this kind of talk that is essential to helping children get ready to learn to read. It makes all the difference between children who struggle to read and those who excel.

What's the Best Way to Develop Early Literacy Skills with Talking?

Putting it Into Action:

Here are several examples of using Talking to help build early literacy skills:


• Ghoting, Soroj. Storytimes for Everyone. Chicago: ALA. 2013.
• Parent Cortical Mass. "What Is 'Language Dancing' and Why Is It Important to Parents?" Web 19 April 2015.
• Wallis, Catriona. "How to Encourage Young Children to Start Talking and Expressing Themselves." HuffPost. Parents the Blog. April 30, 2014. Web 28 April 2015.