Subtitled, How to Develop Your Child’s Language Skills from Birth to Age Four. There are some books that I call “theoretically practical”: they provide you a wealth of hands-on application backed up with lots of theory, research and support. Small Talk gets a high rating in this category.
Communication develops from a very young age and this book explains this process in clear, understandable ways and then provides optimal ways for parents to encourage vocabulary and language. Honing in on speech development from birth to 48 months, 7 chapters focus on the different speech development phases such as the pre-babble phase, the single-word phase, etc. The authors discuss what typically occurs and how to encourage your child’s full development during each phase. All this helpful information is in small bite-sized pieces.
Written in a straight-forward and encouraging tone, the authors guide and direct you so that you are able to guide and direct your young ones. Each chapter ends with a brief list of milestones of speech and language development (taken from United Kingdom guidelines) that are suggested as typical, recognizing that a child is an individual and will develop at his/her own pace.
The Small Talk Time insets provide brief activities to get your children communicating in their particular phase. Expect a treasure of practical tips such as getting the most out of your storybooks, helping your infant eat properly, working with tongue-tied children, etc. Over 50 no or little prep songs/games/activities encourage language awareness and development. Lots of these would be great homeschool preschool activities.
Although the authors address practical concerns as they discuss each developmental stage, one chapter focuses on parental concerns such as stuttering, autism, bilingualism, the use of the pacifier and TV. Founder of the Owl Centre in Oxfordshire, England, Nicola Lathey, co-author, is a speech and language therapist who specializes on children under age 5.
The back of the book contains more resources: an appendix to help you identify language problems; a glossary; an index (organized by child’s age and also by individual items); support organization list; recommended reading; and a resource list of language-producing activities and toys.
Additional activities and resources are available here. An excellent language resource whether you’re beginning the parenting journey or not.