Smart Talk

Language and literacy development in children is the result of ongoing positive experiences—experiences that begin the moment a child is born. 

To improve language and literacy outcomes for Arizona’s children, we partnered with Read on Arizona, a statewide, public/private partnership of agencies, philanthropic organizations, and community stakeholders dedicated to helping create an early literacy system that delivers the right program at the right time for every child. The online training created by the Center’s instructional design team for Read on Arizona’s latest project,  Smart Talk, offers parents and caregivers comprehensive training to help promote language development and improve literacy skills in babies and children. 

Through generous funding by First Things First, the collaboration resulted in developing short online instruction sessions based on Smart Talk tips that are interactive and accessible to all, and focused on the learner experience. Additionally, Read On Arizona’s Smart Talk program provides guidance, resources, and activities to help parents learn how to have quality back-and-forth “conversations” with their child that are loving and responsive and help to introduce new words. 

Although children have an innate gift for figuring out the rules of the language used in their environment, it is parents, caregivers, teachers, and guardians who are chief resources, conversationalists, questioners, listeners, responders, and sustainers of language development and growth for children. When babies and toddlers hear words and language from caring adults – especially parents – their brain develops the connections they will need to learn to read and use language.

That is why programs like Smart Talk have been developed and are critical for children’s language learning success. The Smart Talk interactive online tutorials will help parents increase their knowledge, skills, and understanding of how to better communicate with their children, offering free conversational techniques and interactive online video resources that encourage parents to increase their use of positive and loving exchanges with their child, even before the child is able to use and understand words.     

Smart Talk is easy to do, can be done anywhere and at any time, and in whatever language the adult is most comfortable with. Whether you are a parent, family member, or child-care provider you can access the free online program at Read on Arizona. Check it out today!



Smart Talk is having quality back-and-forth “conversations” with your child that are loving and responsive and introduce new words. You can learn more about Smart Talk by checking out this interactive online video tutorial - Smart Talk Interactive Learning.

Smart Talk is free and available online for anyone who wants to improve their back-and-forth interactions and have more quality conversations with babies and toddlers.

  • listen and respond
  • ask questions
  • use a caring, loving tone
  • introduce new words

The five Smart Talk techniques are: describe, ask, respond, read, and repeat. Each of these techniques has a corresponding free tutorial video for free online. You can access the videos by following this link to Read On Arizona’s Smart Talk Resources page.

All of the Smart Talk materials and videos are available in both English and Spanish. There is also a version of Smart Talk available for providers.