One of the most powerful ways to develop your child's literacy skills is also the easiest: talk to your kids! At age eight, 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, "Which superpower would you rather have: super speed or the power to fly?" Follow up with "Why?" to encourage them to clarify their thoughts.

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!

"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?"