close
Font size options
Increase or decrease the font size for this website by clicking on the 'A's.
Contrast options
Choose a colour combintion to give he most comfortable contrast.

A mother talking to her baby

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:

  • Tends to be richer

  • Contains a wide variety of words

  • Is more responsive and encouraging

  • Gives more information, more back-and-forth conversation, and more interesting and unusual words

  • Encourages children to question, explore, put ideas into words, and figure things out

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?

    • Verbalize a child's gestures.

    • Imitate the child's sounds and actions - you can have a back-and-forth conversation even with a small infant! Imitate the babbles, add words and babble some more. Use parentese, exagerrated words hat are fun to use with baby and help baby hear the language more easily.

    • Repeat what the child says and add descriptive words or other embellishments.

    • Ask open-ended questions.

    • Think out loud.

    • Strive for five! Take multiple turns in talking between the child and adult. To encourage a child to respond,the adult can ask questions or use open ended sentences, such as 'Tell me more,' every child ready to read logo 'That's interesting,' and 'I remember when...'

Putting it Into Action:

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

  • A young child gestures toward something. The adult puts words to what the child is trying to communicate. The adult waits and then asks the child to use those words. Those words may be babble, but an important two-way conversation is happening and the baby is learning important components of oral language.

  • An adult asks a question, perhaps about a picture in a book. Wait at least five seconds for the child to respond. Then the adult can answer the question, perhaps describing the pictures in the book or what is happening. The child is learning language that he or she will use later.

  • Adults can talk about the reasons for anything and everything around them.

  • Adults can encourage children to talk about things that have happened or are happening around them. They can encourage pretend play and acting out stories. Adults can add to what the child is saying, using descriptive words, synonyms, and bits of information the child may not know.

  • Adults can think aloud - about what they are doing, or expressing curiosity about various things. Always allow time for the child to jump into the conversation. Adults can narrate the day, describing what they will be doing first, next, and so on. Try to add two embellishing sentences to what is said. For example, a parent might say, "Put your coat on. We are going shopping." Then add at least two sentences to that command - perhaps explaining what they will be shopping for and why.

Sources:

• 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.

Preschool Events
Mon, Aug 26, 10:30am - 11:00am
Merrillville - Children's Programming Room

Mon, Aug 26, 10:30am - 11:15am
Highland - Children's Programming Room

Mon, Aug 26, 11:00am - 11:30am
Lake Station-New Chicago - Children's Program Room

Tue, Aug 27, 10:00am - 10:45am
Merrillville - Children's Programming Room

Tue, Aug 27, 11:00am - 11:45am
Lake Station-New Chicago - Children's Program Room

Tue, Aug 27, 11:15am - 12:15pm
Merrillville - Children's Programming Room

Wed, Aug 28, 10:30am - 11:00am
Griffith-Calumet Twp - Children's Programming Room

Wed, Aug 28, 10:30am - 11:30am
Highland - Children's Programming Room

Wed, Aug 28, 6:30pm - 7:15pm
Lake Station-New Chicago - Children's Program Room

Thu, Aug 29, 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Munster - Large Meeting Room

Sat, Aug 31, 10:30am - 11:00am
Merrillville - Children's Programming Room

Sat, Aug 31, 3:00pm - 4:00pm
Lake Station-New Chicago - Large Meeting Room

Tue, Sep 03, 10:00am - 10:45am
Merrillville - Children's Programming Room

Tue, Sep 03, 10:30am - 11:30am
Munster - Children's Program Room

Tue, Sep 03, 10:30am - 11:00am
St. John - Children's Program Room

Tue, Sep 03, 11:15am - 12:00pm
Merrillville - Children's Programming Room

Tue, Sep 03, 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Griffith-Calumet Twp - Children's Programming Room

Tue, Sep 03, 6:30pm - 7:00pm
Highland - Children's Programming Room

Wed, Sep 04, 10:30am - 11:30am
Griffith-Calumet Twp - Children's Programming Room

Wed, Sep 04, 10:30am - 11:00am
Dyer-Schererville - Children's Programming Room

Wed, Sep 04, 10:30am - 11:00am
Hobart - Children's Program Room

Wed, Sep 04, 10:30am - 11:30am
Munster - Children's Program Room

Wed, Sep 04, 10:30am - 11:00am
Highland - Children's Programming Room

Wed, Sep 04, 6:30pm - 7:15pm
Lake Station-New Chicago - Children's Program Room

Thu, Sep 05, 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Munster Library - Children's Area

Fri, Sep 06, 10:30am - 11:00am
Cedar Lake - Children's Programming Room

Fri, Sep 06, 10:30am - 11:30am
Merrillville - Children's Programming Room

Sat, Sep 07, 10:00am - 11:00am
Merrillville - Children's Programming Room

Sat, Sep 07, 10:30am - 12:00pm
Hobart - Children's Program Room

Mon, Sep 09, 10:30am - 11:15am
Hobart - Children's Program Room

Mon, Sep 09, 10:30am - 11:00am
Dyer-Schererville - Children's Programming Room

Mon, Sep 09, 10:30am - 11:00am
Merrillville - Children's Programming Room

Mon, Sep 09, 10:30am - 11:30am
Munster - Children's Program Room

Mon, Sep 09, 10:30am - 11:15am
Highland - Children's Programming Room

Mon, Sep 09, 11:30am - 12:30pm
Munster - Children's Program Room

Mon, Sep 09, 1:30pm - 2:15pm
Hobart - Children's Program Room

Mon, Sep 09, 1:30pm - 2:15pm
Dyer-Schererville - Children's Programming Room

Tue, Sep 10, 10:00am - 10:45am
Merrillville - Children's Programming Room

Tue, Sep 10, 10:30am - 11:00am
Dyer-Schererville - Children's Programming Room

Tue, Sep 10, 10:30am - 11:30am
St. John - Children's Program Room

Tue, Sep 10, 10:30am - 11:15am
Cedar Lake - Meeting Room A

Tue, Sep 10, 11:00am - 12:30pm
Lake Station-New Chicago - Large Meeting Room

Tue, Sep 10, 11:15am - 12:00pm
Merrillville - Children's Programming Room

Tue, Sep 10, 1:00pm - 2:00pm
St. John - Children's Program Room

Tue, Sep 10, 1:30pm - 2:15pm
Dyer-Schererville - Children's Programming Room

Tue, Sep 10, 6:00pm - 6:30pm
Hobart - Children's Program Room

Wed, Sep 11, 10:15am - 10:45am
Dyer-Schererville - Children's Programming Room

Wed, Sep 11, 10:30am - 11:00am
Griffith-Calumet Twp - Children's Programming Room

Wed, Sep 11, 10:30am - 11:00am
Munster - Children's Program Room

Wed, Sep 11, 10:30am - 12:00pm
Hobart - Children's Program Room

Wed, Sep 11, 10:30am - 11:00am
St. John - Children's Program Room

Wed, Sep 11, 10:30am - 11:30am
Highland - Children's Programming Room

Wed, Sep 11, 11:15am - 11:45am
Dyer-Schererville - Children's Programming Room

Thu, Sep 12, 10:30am - 11:00am
Cedar Lake - Children's Programming Room

Sat, Sep 14, 10:30am - 11:00am
Merrillville - Children's Programming Room

Sat, Sep 14, 2:30pm - 4:00pm
Lake Station-New Chicago - Large Meeting Room

Mon, Sep 16, 10:30am - 11:00am
Dyer-Schererville - Children's Programming Room

Mon, Sep 16, 1:00pm - 1:45pm
Cedar Lake - Children's Programming Room

Mon, Sep 16, 1:30pm - 2:15pm
Dyer-Schererville - Children's Programming Room

Mon, Sep 16, 6:30pm - 7:30pm
St. John - Large Meeting Room

Tue, Sep 17, 10:00am - 10:45am
Merrillville - Children's Programming Room

Tue, Sep 17, 10:30am - 11:00am
Dyer-Schererville - Children's Programming Room

Tue, Sep 17, 10:30am - 11:30am
Munster - Children's Program Room

Tue, Sep 17, 10:30am - 11:00am
St. John - Children's Program Room

Tue, Sep 17, 11:00am - 11:45am
Lake Station-New Chicago - Children's Program Room

Tue, Sep 17, 11:15am - 12:00pm
Merrillville - Children's Programming Room

Tue, Sep 17, 1:30pm - 2:15pm
Dyer-Schererville - Children's Programming Room

Tue, Sep 17, 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Griffith-Calumet Twp - Children's Programming Room

Tue, Sep 17, 6:30pm - 7:00pm
Highland - Children's Programming Room

Wed, Sep 18, 10:15am - 10:45am
Dyer-Schererville - Children's Programming Room

Wed, Sep 18, 10:30am - 11:30am
Griffith-Calumet Twp - Children's Programming Room

Wed, Sep 18, 10:30am - 11:00am
Hobart - Children's Program Room

Wed, Sep 18, 10:30am - 11:30am
Munster - Children's Program Room

Wed, Sep 18, 10:30am - 11:00am
Highland - Children's Programming Room

Wed, Sep 18, 11:15am - 11:45am
Dyer-Schererville - Children's Programming Room

Wed, Sep 18, 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Merrillville - Children's Programming Room

Fri, Sep 20, 10:30am - 11:00am
Cedar Lake - Children's Programming Room

Sat, Sep 21, 3:00pm - 4:00pm
Lake Station-New Chicago - Large Meeting Room

Mon, Sep 23, 10:30am - 11:15am
Hobart - Children's Program Room

Mon, Sep 23, 10:30am - 11:00am
Merrillville - Children's Programming Room

Mon, Sep 23, 10:30am - 11:30am
Munster - Children's Program Room

Mon, Sep 23, 10:30am - 11:15am
Highland - Children's Programming Room

Mon, Sep 23, 11:30am - 12:30pm
Munster - Children's Program Room

Mon, Sep 23, 1:30pm - 2:15pm
Hobart - Children's Program Room

Tue, Sep 24, 10:00am - 10:45am
Merrillville - Children's Programming Room

Tue, Sep 24, 10:30am - 11:30am
St. John - Children's Program Room

Tue, Sep 24, 11:00am - 11:45am
Lake Station-New Chicago - Children's Program Room

Tue, Sep 24, 11:15am - 12:00pm
Merrillville - Children's Programming Room

Tue, Sep 24, 1:00pm - 2:00pm
St. John - Children's Program Room

Family Events
Mon, Aug 26, 2:00pm - 4:00pm
Cedar Lake - Meeting Room A

Mon, Aug 26, 6:30pm - 8:00pm
Munster - Large Meeting Room

Tue, Aug 27, 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Merrillville - Meeting Room A

Tue, Aug 27, 6:30pm - 7:30pm
Highland - Children's Programming Room

Sat, Aug 31, 3:00pm - 4:00pm
Lake Station-New Chicago - Large Meeting Room

Tue, Sep 03, 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Merrillville - Meeting Room A

Mon, Sep 09, 2:00pm - 4:00pm
Cedar Lake - Meeting Room A

Tue, Sep 10, 11:00am - 12:30pm
Lake Station-New Chicago - Large Meeting Room

Tue, Sep 10, 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Merrillville - Meeting Room A

Tue, Sep 10, 6:30pm - 7:30pm
Highland - Children's Programming Room

Thu, Sep 12, 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Highland - Children's Programming Room

Sat, Sep 14, 9:30am - 11:30am
Highland - Meeting Room A

Sat, Sep 14, 2:30pm - 4:00pm
Lake Station-New Chicago - Large Meeting Room

Mon, Sep 16, 6:30pm - 7:30pm
St. John - Large Meeting Room

Tue, Sep 17, 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Merrillville - Meeting Room A

Fri, Sep 20, 3:30pm - 5:00pm
Griffith-Calumet Twp - Meeting Room

Sat, Sep 21, 11:00am - 12:00pm
DS: Children's Area - Children's Area

Sat, Sep 21, 3:00pm - 4:00pm
Lake Station-New Chicago - Large Meeting Room

Mon, Sep 23, 2:00pm - 4:00pm
Cedar Lake - Meeting Room A

Mon, Sep 23, 6:30pm - 8:00pm
Munster - Large Meeting Room

Tue, Sep 24, 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Merrillville - Meeting Room B

Tue, Sep 24, 6:30pm - 7:30pm
Highland - Children's Programming Room