The newly updated edition of Talk to Me, Baby! is here. It includes new research and thinking on infant and toddler language — and new strategies for supporting children’s learning, in one or more languages. Like the first edition, it emphasizes the power of play talk, follows children from birth through beginning reading, and concludes with a chapter on building language-supporting communities. It’s filled with anecdotes, games and rhymes in multiple languages, children’s questions, tips for talking with children and for choosing books they will love, and ideas for supporting social-emotional strides as well as language. It also contains a Study Guide.

If you get the electronic version, the links to online resources are live. With either the book or eBook, you get access to a website with downloadable teaching handouts (in English and Spanish!) and links to videos and other teaching resources.

You can order from Amazon, or directly from Brookes, which offers exam copies and bulk purchase discounts.

Tell, retell, and make up stories!

Toddlers like simple stories about themselves and the important people in their lives. Susan Engel’s research shows that “elaborated reminiscing” (telling and retelling stories about shared experiences, adding more detail and encouraging the child’s increased participation with each retelling) is an especially powerful tool for building toddlers’ language facility, vocabularies, story-telling skill, and memories — while also strengthening your relationship!

Preschoolers like true and true-to-life stories, and often demand accuracy. They also love fantasy. You can make up a whole cast of characters, give them fun names, and dream up all sorts of adventures, using fanciful language, rich descriptive detail, and appropriate dialog and voices. Use storybooks like Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs or The Giant Jam Sandwich to inspire tall tales, Flossie and the Fox or The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs by A. Wolf to inspire creative retellings of familiar tales, and The Tale of Peter Rabbit or If You Give a Mouse a Cookie to inspire stories about the real and imaginary creatures who inhabit our homes, gardens, and neighborhoods.

Remember: It’s fun for children to listen to stories, but even more fun (and language-building!) when they participate. Encourage them to make suggestions, add sound effects and details, take on roles, ask questions that push you to expand or vary the story, and invent new characters, events, and endings.

Share humor with children!

TIP: Use humor to build language — along with relationships and resilience. Share jokes. Tell funny stories. Read funny books — and make your own. Play with words. Make up funny versions of familiar songs. Help children understand the difference between funny and hurtful jokes, appreciate each other’s humor, and use humor to strengthen friendships, diffuse conflicts, and recover from minor mishaps and setbacks.