Parents are their children's first teachers, but some parents do not realize the importance of their role in teaching their children to talk. There have been many theories about how children learn to talk. For centuries, some people thought it was a miracle. Recent brain research shows that infants' brains have cells ready to learn language. Creating a word-rich environment keeps neural connections for language strong and prevents their loss. To activate the language cells, children need to hear and say millions of words before they are three years old. Not different words, just words parents already say every day. A big vocabulary empowers children by increasing their ability to understand and communicate with others in school, in jobs and in life.This vocabulary workbook provides a dozen conversation starters to build a baby's vocabulary. By using simple language-enriching strategies like name-what-you-see and taking turns, parents can give a child the gift of words starting at birth. Saying millions of words to a child seems impossible and time consuming, but it is not. Unfortunately, TV words do not count despite the multiple TV shows which spotlight the hilarious things children say. Adults who say the words for what they see their children doing don't spend more time with their children; they say more words in the same time. One of the greatest gifts a parent gives a child is language.
Talmage Steele is a grandmother who spent her career teaching, mentoring, developing curriculum and enrichment resources. She has worked with parents and teachers in Chicago Public Schools and day care centers. She managed a McCormick Tribune Literacy Grant working with CPS day care coaches in 85 classrooms, Annenberg Challenge Grants, Chicago Arts Partners in Education (CAPE) Grants and an Erikson Arts Project. She wrote and edited a resource directory, Chicago Arts Resources: Growing Up with Art.