Baby Talk: Resources to Support the People Who Work With Infants and Toddlers Issue No. 53 October 2015

Early Educator Central: Pathways to Credentials and Degrees for Infant-Toddler Educators

This website focuses on the careers of infant-toddler educators and on tools to advance their education and to improve competencies. Key features of Early Educator Central include:

  • High-quality course work to support infant/toddler educators, early childhood administrators, trainers and coaches, higher education professionals, and professional development system leaders;
  • Tools for leaders to build all aspects of the infant/toddler career pathway, including a Professional Development System Cost Analysis Tool and model articulation agreements; and
  • Supports for those teaching in higher education as well as trainers, coaches, and others, including a free online digital observation tool and a Know-See-Do-Improve framework for analyzing courses, whether for credit or not.


The Words Children Hear: How Picture Books Support Language Learning in Very Young Children

Multiple studies have underscored the link between vocabulary, including the mastery of diverse words and of linguistic contexts, and better language and academic outcomes. What we haven’t known is the best way(s) to support young children in developing that diverse vocabulary. To better understand whether picture books that were read aloud to infants and toddlers were, in fact, a source of lexical diversity, researchers examined 100 common children’s picture books. Overall, the picture books contained more unique word types than the child-directed speech. Further, individual picture books generally contained more unique word types than length-matched, child-directed conversations. The text of picture books may be an important source of vocabulary for young children, and these findings suggest a mechanism that underlies the language benefits associated with reading to children.


Measuring Infant/Toddler Language Development: Lessons Learned About Assessment and Screening Tools

This brief capitalizes on lessons learned in the Early Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (Baby FACES) to illustrate some of the considerations in selecting and administering screening and assessment tools in the context of Early Head Start (EHS). The research focused on those tools that are used to examine the language skills of infants and toddlers and rely on parent and staff reports (rather than direct assessment). The brief concludes with suggestions for factors programs should consider when selecting measures of children’s development. While the research was conducted in EHS programs, the lessons learned are relevant across infant-toddler programs contexts.



Dual Language Learners: A Screening Guide for Program Leaders
How can parents and early childhood professionals know if a child is at risk for health, sensory, cognitive, physical, language, or social-emotional delays? Early screening is the first step in the assessment process for all children in Head Start and Early Head Start. If the screening results show an area of concern, teachers work with disabilities coordinators to schedule further testing. But is this process different for children who are dual language learners (DLLs)? This resource includes the tools to plan, implement, and evaluate the screening processes. This document shows how to make informed decisions about which screening instruments to use, and how to implement high-quality screening practices for children who are bilingual. NOTE: While the examples are specific to Head Start, the guidance and evidence have relevance for most early childhood programs.


Baby Talk is a free, one-way listserv that is distributed monthly. Each issue features resources that are high quality, readily available and free.  To join the listserv, send an email with no message to   To suggest resources, please contact Camille Catlett at or (919) 966-6635.

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