Talking about books helps children build vocabulary and develop skills using language typically found in school settings, also referred to as academic language. Children typically develop social language skills naturally—language used to communicate with family and friends. Academic language skills, however, require instruction. Teaching children to think and connect ideas from many contexts allows them to follow more complex language, which they might find in stories, instructions, and descriptions of historical events or nature.

The strategies and supporting activities described below are taken primarily from Supporting Your Child’s
Reading at Home
, a resource developed by REL Southeast and informed by the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC)
Practice Guide titled Foundational Skills to Support Reading for Understanding in Kindergarten Through 3rd Grade.
This resource is part of a series of instructional briefs designed to help families, afterschool providers, and other
caregivers support their children’s early reading instruction while learning at home or in a hybrid learning environment.