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Learning to Talk by Talking: A Developmental Approach to Maximizing Language and Literacy Skills

2/6/17 to 2/19/17

This is an online program.

Registration Deadline: February 5, 2017 at 12 a.m. EST

Tuition: $149 per person

What You Will Learn

Understand practical approaches to fostering language and literacy skills in children through talking and discussion. 

Program Overview

Learning to Talk by Talking is an online professional development program for both educators and parents. Based upon the research of HGSE Professor Catherine Snow, one of the world’s leading experts on language and literacy, the program provides a developmental approach to language and literacy from birth to the teen years.

When it comes to helping children develop robust language skills, talking is essential. Snow’s research shows that children who have bigger vocabularies learn to read more easily and earlier. Leveraging their vocabulary through discussion and story telling also makes them better readers, because they can decipher the meaning of more words.

The program is a mix of self-paced learning, facilitated group discussion, and job-embedded learning that will help educators and parents alike develop and support the literacy skills of children. Participants will learn tools and tips from the online lessons that they can weave directly into practice in their classrooms or schools, or at the dinner table. 

Program Objectives

By completing the 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 answering questions
  • Promote effective reading and writing for middle and junior high students through the power of discussion and debate
  • Apply research and best practices in language and literacy skills development to your practice

Format and Delivery

The program includes:

  • Video lectures from Professor Snow
  • Research summaries and assigned readings
  • Self-assessment and reflection prompts
  • Cohort discussion boards
  • Job-embedded practice where you will apply the concepts and techniques learned*

A core part of the HGSE experience is cohort learning. Over the course of the program, the curriculum is designed to create a community of practice for participants to learn with and from each other.

The online instruction, discussions, and job-embedded practice should take five to seven hours over the duration of the program. Participants who complete all individual assessments and contribute to group discussions will receive a certificate indicating completion of five clock hours of instruction.

*Note: all content is self-paced, including group discussions. Facilitators will moderate discussion boards throughout the two-week program.

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Who Should Attend
  • Teachers
  • Early childhood educators
  • Paraprofessionals
  • Literacy coaches
  • Parents
  • Community-based program professionals working with children 1–15 years old
Faculty Chair

Catherine Snow is the Patricia Albjerg Graham Professor of Education at HGSE. An expert on language and literacy development, 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.


Enrollment Instructions 

Learning to Talk by Talking is a registration program. Please click the register button at the top of the page to be guided through the registration process. In order to maximize the learning experience, the program aims to bring together as diverse a group as possible. Both individuals and teams are welcome to register.

Fees and Policies

Tuition includes all instructional materials. Participants receive a certificate of participation and a letter confirming clock hours of instruction.

Payment is due by credit card at registration. 

Please click here for more information on our on-campus and online refund and withdrawal policies. If you have any additional questions or concerns about your ability to participate, please contact our admissions team at or 1-800-545-1849.

The Harvard Graduate School of Education reserves the right to change faculty or cancel programs at its discretion. In the unlikely event of program changes, the school is not responsible for non-refundable travel arrangements or other planning expenses incurred.

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