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Sharing how parents can build early literacy by talking to babies

toddler looking surprised while laying on a blue blanket

Babies start communicating from day one, said First Things First’s Kat Willard in a recent guest spot on The Parenting Brief, a podcast hosted by Strong Families AZ.

Willard, who is FTF’s senior director for Family Support and Literacy, shared that parents are encouraged to have back-and-forth “conversations” that will build their baby’s brain throughout the day, no matter how awkward it feels at first. While babies won’t talk back, of course, they do have their own way of responding.

“Infants communicate through eye contact, body gestures, and through crying and through babbling as well,” Willard said. She encouraged parents to sing songs, tell stories to spark meaningful communication with their babies, toddlers and preschoolers.

The monthly podcast provides useful tips and advice for moms of children birth to age 5 and is hosted by Jessica Stewart-Gonzalez, who is the program director for the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program at the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Ofelia Gonzalez is a public information officer at First Things First. You can reach her at​

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