Every expectant new parent should be given this book! Lynn Carson, a speech pathologist has done a remarkable job of organizing baby’s first year, developing language skills weekly, building from getting to know your baby’s cries and cues, to progressively using more tailored ways to talk to your baby, read and play, getting her ready to say first words. Carson’s guide is so gently but informatively written, devoting a short page to each week’s activities, including the Area Addressed (sounds, early literacy, receptive language etc), the Skill Targeted (joint attention, turn taking, vocabulary development), Things You Need (usually just you and your baby), special tips, the Activity, and what your baby and you Will do as you participate. There is a wealth of accompanying lists to help parents expand on the suggested activities such as nursery rhymes, when to add narration to routines, great first books and toys, baby games and tips for reading to busy babies–in other words when they are on the move! Each three month section ends with milestones and memories for parents to check on typical development and record baby’s favorite books, games, songs and so on. I love that the tips are backed up with research but shared in easy to understand terms giving importance to the few minutes parents spend playing and stimulating language. Now it is the parents’ turn to give a gift to their child. Enjoy the activities with your baby, since “children with strong early language skills are more likely to have better reading skills at school age, gain higher academic achievement, possess stronger social skills and earn better wages as adults.” And all you have to do is play!

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