Those of us in the early childhood field understand the importance of talking to children; beginning early, early on. We know what we say and how we say it is critically important to early literacy development. However, for many children most of what they hear from the adults in their lives are commands and demands. “Pick up your toys” or “Clean up that spill” and not enough problem-solving questions such as “Where do we put our toys when we are finished playing?” and “What do we need to do now that the milk spilled?” Look at the difference in the number of words in each of the exchanges. With problem solving questions, children are exposed to more words and the tone is more respectful. Researchers Betty Hart and Todd Risley found these two elements do make a difference in literacy development and school success. Why is it that more parents and others who spend time with small children aren’t getting this message? I came across an editorial in the Los Angeles Times that speaks to this issue. Esther Jantzen proposes some very interesting strategies. What are your thoughts?