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cover of The Art of Talking to Children

Written by Rebecca Roland

Conversations can help provide learning opportunities, including developing essential listening skills and increasing vocabulary. Often, what we think of as a conversation with the children around us is more a session of us, as the adult, either asking for information or providing information,. We do not always get to the why of the information. When we get to hear a child’s “why,” it feels like being given a gem. This book can help us as adults learn skills that allow us to get to that why more often.

Rebecca Rolland is an oral-language specialist, a Harvard faculty member, and a parent and brings all those roles to this book. Each chapter explains why one would want to have different types of conversations with children and adolescents, provides evidence for the science, and shares anecdotes from her family and students. The combination helps make this a book you can apply to your life, even in the first chapter. She explains how you can help develop empathy, confidence, creativity, and social skills through conversations.

I would recommend this book for parents of young children through teens as well as teachers and all school personnel. It can be read all at once, one chapter at a time with practice before reading the next, or in the order needed based on family circumstances. It is certainly a book you will go back to again and again to develop and refine conversational skills that may help in talking with adults as well as talking with children.