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First Words Together

About First Words Together

Adapted from National Literacy Trust’s Early Words Together programme, First Words Together supports babies and toddlers who may need early help with speech, language and communication before the age of two.

Babies communicate long before they start to talk, through gestures, showing and giving objects, pointing and vocalising. Sharing books and interacting through books from when babies are very young supports communication and language development. This universal programme builds parents’ and carers’ awareness and confidence in supporting early communication leading up to babies’ first words.

The programme also builds knowledge and confidence in early years practitioners and professionals. Practitioners are trained to deliver weekly sessions that include evidence-based, fun activities based around five top tips, to build the foundations of communication that parents can easily repeat in the home. This then encourages positive change to a child’s home learning environment.

Each week families are gifted a free book linking with the session, so by the end of the programme families will have built a mini library in their home. Speech and Language Therapists are employed on the project too, offering support and advice for practitioners and families taking part.

The sessions, alongside an associated behaviour change campaign are currently running across the West Midlands and North East of England, as well as in Rochdale and Cornwall.

Thousands of families have taken part so far, the impact of which is being externally evaluated by the Centre for Research in Early Childhood. Read key findings from our work in Birmingham and Cornwall.

Resources for practitioners

If you are an early years practitioner taking part in First Words Together, you will receive a toolkit with detailed session plans, resources and information on the development of early communication from birth to two.

In addition, you can download guidance on working in partnership with parents and carers, helping them to build their awareness and confidence in supporting early communication leading up to their babies’ first words.

Resources for parents or carers with under twos

Parents and carers can head to our Words for Life website and discover five tips to help your baby learn to talk. These are fun activities that you can fit into your day-to-day life and will help your toddler learn their first words. Here you will also find a list of venues running First Words Together sessions across the country.