When it comes to helping children develop robust language skills, talking is essential. Discussion and storytelling builds vocabulary, and children who have bigger vocabularies learn to read more easily and earlier.

Learning to Talk by Talking is an online professional development program for educators and parents. Drawing on the research of HGSE Professor Catherine Snow, one of the world’s leading experts on language and literacy, the workshop provides a developmental approach to language and literacy from birth to the teen years. Participants will explore the latest research and practical strategies for using talk to foster language development at every grade level.


By completing this program, you will be able to:

  • Understand language development in very young children and the role adults can play in developing language skills
  • Understand the importance of stimulating talk and questions
  • Learn to promote reading and writing through classroom discussion and debate
  • Apply research and best practices in language and literacy skills development to your own work


The online workshop will require a total of 5-7 hours of work. Participants who complete all individual assessments and contribute to group discussions will receive a certificate indicating completion of five clock hours of instruction.

Meet The Faculty

Catherine Snow

Catherine Snow

Patricia Albjerg Graham Professor of Education

An expert on language and literacy development, Catherine Snow’s work focuses on how oral language skills are acquired and how they relate to literacy outcomes. Her research includes studies of language and literacy development among low-income children, children in the Early Head Start intervention, and first- and second-language learners. She is currently partnering with public schools in Massachusetts and Maryland to improve middle-school literacy outcomes.

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