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Tammy Steele
August 11, 2021 As they learn to throw a ball, talk with toddlers and young children about what the ball is doing. It goes up in the air and falls back down. It flies up and down in an arc. The harder you throw it, the faster and farther it travels. If you throw it too hard, it flies over Mom’s head. If you throw it to one side, she must run to catch it. Say what you see. When children play, they are learning to think. Their thinking is strengthened when adults give them the words for what is happening as they play. This is how kids learn the big ideas of math. Throwing a ball leads to seeing it arc, leads to visualizing a parabola, leads to the quadratic equation, leads to rocket science. Playing ball with toddlers helps them learn algebra as teens. For the advanced version of how this works, see https://thephysicsofvolleyball.tumblr.com Our book, The Gift of Words: How Do Children Learn to Talk?supports recent research about how babies and toddlers learn to talk. A new book, The Gift of Math: Math Talk with Young Children, will be available in 2022. See www.talktomemama.com and www.Facebook.com/talktomemama. Or go to our partner Play Smart Literacy at https://bit.ly/welcomeplaysmart to share literacy games, play videos and make contact with play coaches on Chicago’s South Side.


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Parents who talk about big ideas in math prepare their children best to do well in school and at home. What is Math Talk? Math is more than numbers. It is an abstract way of solving problems. Math uses patterns, measurement, logic and order to describe space, time and other relationships. Babies’ brains are practically born understanding the big ideas of more/no more or same/different. Toddlers play with math ideas, but they need parents to give them the words. When parents repeat math words, they help children grow from counting their toes into confident mathematicians. Parents who fear math can teach their child math words like circle, sphere, curved, straight, empty, full. Say what you see a child do. It is a process, not a test.

Our book, The Gift of Words: How Do Children Learn to Talk? is based on recent research about how babies and toddlers learn to Math Talk. There are also activities supporting parents as they live their important role as their child’s first math teacher. See www.talktomemama.com and www.Facebook.com/talktomemama. Or go to our partner Play Smart Literacy at https://bit.ly/welcomeplaysmart to share literacy games, play videos and make contact with play coaches on Chicago’s South Side.

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All parents want important and meaningful ways to collaborate with programs for their children's education. Because having a strong vocabulary is critical for children’s lifelong reading, speaking and listening comprehension, it is imperative that childcare professionals inform and support parents in their efforts to encourage their children’s language acquisition. While parents should take leadership/advisory roles in setting priorities, schools must offer parents supportive, research-based information about math talk, the importance of play in language comprehension, the strength of learning two languages at infancy and the value of a language-rich environment. Our book, The Gift of Words: How Do Children Learn to Talk? is based on recent research about how babies and toddlers learn to talk. There are also activities supporting the book at www.talktomemama.com and www.Facebook.com/talktomemama. Or go to our partner Play Smart Literacy at https://bit.ly/welcomeplaysmart to share literacy games, play videos and make contact with play coaches on Chicago’s South Side.


Order your copy of The Gift of Words: How Do Children Learn to Talk?and activities supporting it at www.talktomemama.com and www.Facebook.com/talktomemamaor via Amazon or BookBaby by clicking below:


https://www.amazon.com/Gift-Words-Children-Learn-Talk/dp/1543935605

https://store.bookbaby.com/book/the-gift-of-words


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