Literacy Talking to Your Seven-Year-Old

One of the most powerful ways to develop your child's literacy skills is also the easiest: talk to your kids! At age seven, children begin to use language to explain both their outer world (what they see) and their inner world (what they think, feel and imagine). When they talk to caring adults, they can expand their vocabulary and learn more about the give-and-take of conversations — including taking turns and building on someone else's ideas.

Help your child develop speaking and listening skills:

Ask Questions

Questions are great conversation starters and can help kids explore their thinking. When you have time in the car, at the dinner table or before bed, ask an open question and give everyone a turn to answer, including you. At this age, kids enjoy the "would you rather" game, which can be both silly and serious. For example, "Would you rather play in the snow or on a hot, sandy beach?" or "Which superpower would you rather have: super speed or the power to fly?" Follow up with "Why?" to encourage them to clarify their thoughts.

Martha Seeks!

Your child can help three puppies find bones using their listening and direction following skills in this game with brand new words.

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Play Guessing Games

Games such as "I Spy" and "20 Questions" teach language and reasoning skills. Give your child clues and see if she can guess what you are thinking — and then let her have a turn while you guess.

Describe Family Photos

Kids love to look at photos of people they know and events they've enjoyed. As you flip through photos together on your phone or in an album, share stories and memories!

Ruff Cut: Grandma's Game

Grandma Ruffman is making a scrapbook and needs help organizing the pictures on each page. Using spatial reasoning skills, your child can help Grandma by arranging the photos so they all fit neatly on the page.

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"Let's Find Out!”

In the age of the smartphone, the answers to many of your child's "Why?" questions are in your pocket. When kids stump you, use it as an opportunity to say, "I don't know. Let's look it up!" But before going online or to the bookshelf, first ask your child, "What do you think?"

Skits's Tricks

Skits is learning to find, retrieve, climb, guard, and catch! Your child can learn about the meaning of these words as they help Skits do each one of them.

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Flip "How Was School Today?"

Are you tired of asking that question and hearing, "Fine" or "Good"? Try these questions and prompts instead:

  • Tell me something good/frustrating that happened today. 
  • Tell me something that made you laugh today.
  • Where did you play at recess?
  • If you could switch seats with anyone in the class, who would you trade with? Why?

Click here and here for dozens more ideas!

So Funny I Forgot to Laugh

In this interactive story, Arthur teases Sue Ellen about her new sweater. Your child can follow along with the story and then decide how the story should end.

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Introduce New Words in the Kitchen

Cooking is a great time to talk and teach language and math skills. Show your child what a recipe looks like, pull out and name ingredients together and describe the process of measuring, cutting and mixing.


Your child can practice measurement skills and learn cooking vocabulary in this activity where you team up to bake a yummy yellow cake.

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Raise a Reader with Martha Speaks

Martha is an honest, smart, confident dog who loves to eat -- and talk! Through stories and games, Martha and her friends help your child learn new words and begin to understand what those words mean.

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Activity Finder: Learn With Your Seven-Year-Old

Explore our Age-by-Age Guide: