Talk, Read, Sing

Immersing children in a language rich environment- such as talking, reading, and singing- develops their brain and increases their readiness for school.

Research has shown that children raised in low-income homes do not often hear the same quality and quantity of words, and this can create a “word gap” that can make school more difficult.

It’s never too early to begin. Talk, read, and sing to your child every day in the language you feel most comfortable using. 

Not sure how to start? Download tips for talking, reading, and singing with babies and toddlers.


Even before children can respond to you, their brains are absorbing language patterns and words. If a baby coos, coo back. This models conversational patterns and encourages your child to communicate. Not sure what to talk about? Describe the world as you interact with it.


While talking makes a huge difference in children’s brain development, reading takes you one step further. Reading aloud is the best way to help your child master words and grammar, which is the first step to reading.

Feeling intimidated? Don’t worry- just start! First 5 California offers ideas for reading with your baby, toddler, or preschooler.  Your local library will allow you to check out books at no cost.


Your child likes to hear your voice, even if you think your singing skills could improve. Try singing to distract your baby during diaper changes, try songs with hand motions when you have to wait in line, and make up songs to do things your toddler may not enjoy, such as clean up time or brushing teeth. Songs build brains and create successful routines.

Language Development

Download Chart

If you are actively talking, reading, and singing with your child, you will be better able to determine whether or not your child is meeting language developmental milestones. If you have concerns about your child’s development, always talk to your doctor and ask for a developmental screening.