Talk. Listen. Converse!

4 - 6 years
Everyday ways to help your child with literacy
Family talking

Developed in partnership with Education Services Australia

Literacy skills are not just about reading and writing – conversation skills are important too! To help your child develop these skills:

  • teach your child the basics of conversation – greeting people, showing an interest in them, saying goodbye
  • spend lots of time chatting with your child one-on-one (or with your other children). This helps them learn to listen and take turns in a conversation.
  • include your child in conversations with friends and relatives. Some children will chat away happily with people they’ve just met, while others are reluctant to even say hello. Accept the level of participation that your child is comfortable with, and steer the conversation away if you can see they are feeling under pressure from an over-eager relative!
  • give your child opportunities to talk on the phone with your relatives or friends. Don’t be surprised if your child’s language seems to take a step backwards when they’re on the phone – it’s quite a challenge talking to someone you can’t see! They’ll become more confident with practice.

If your child consistently mispronounces or misuses a word, model the correct way by using the same word in your own sentence. For example:

  • Can we have bsketti for dinner?
  • Yum, I love spaghetti! Let’s see if we have some.


  • Daddy goed to the shops yesterday.
  • That’s right, Daddy went to the shops and bought us fried rice.

Your child will pick up the correct usage, without feeling that you are making a big deal about their mistake.



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Last modified
7 April 2020