Language Development

Did you know when you "TALK, READ, and SING"—even before your child can use words—you’re building up your child's vocabulary and preparing him/her for success in school and life? We know it may not always be easy to talk to babies, especially when they can’t talk back to us. That is why Help Me Grow Allegan is excited to be joining Too Small To Fail's "TALKING IS TEACHING" campaign and offering families fun new tips, songs, books and games to better connect with their children every day. We believe ALL children can be stronger readers and writers in school!!! After all Parents/Guardians are our baby’s first and best teachers!

Free "TALKING IS TEACHING" materials are available at all Allegan County playgroups. If you are interested in receiving  "TALKING IS TEACHING" materials, please visit our Family Coaches and Playgroup webpage for schedules and locations.

Parents, grandparents, and caregivers get out and explore new sites with your children. By simply asking your child questions and pointing out new things to them, you are expanding their vocabulary and teaching them new concepts. Visit parks, museums, and zoos. Walk nature trails. Go shopping or simply enjoy the sights and sounds of your backyard and neighborhood.  

Through Museums for All, those receiving food assistance (SNAP benefits) can gain free or reduced admission to more than 850 museums throughout the United States simply by presenting their EBT card. Search below to find a participating museum near you!

Michigan is working towards becoming a "TALKING IS TEACHING" state. Check out Wayne County's "TALKING IS TEACHING" videos created by an amazing Great Start Parent Coalition dad. 


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Did you know our local libraries offer FREE story times and activities for children ages 0-5 years old? Many of them participate in 1,ooo Books Before Kindergarten and TALK (Text and Learn for Kindergarten). Visit your local library to sign up for these amazing literacy opportunities. If your library doesn't participate in TALK, you can sign up through the state at TALK ( 


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Allegan County children are eligible for Dolly Pardon's Imagination Library. Each month a new, book will be mailed directly to your child thanks to United Way sponsors. 




Gently Used or New Books

at any 


 throughout Allegan County

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Susan Berens
Early Childhood

Allegan AESA

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Gina Dobbin
Great Start Readiness

Allegan AESA


Chauntel Spratt
Early On

Allegan AESA


Let’s Work Together

Becky Huberty
Great Start Collaborative

Allegan AESA

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Stormie Drake
Great Start Family Connected Liaison
Allegan AESA

"TALKING IS TEACHING: TALK, READ, and SING” is a local grassroots effort to boost child brain development and early learning in order to tackle the "Word Gap".

"TALKING IS TEACHING" takes normal, every day conversations parents & guardians have with their children and turns them into fun, teachable moments. If your agency is interested in partnering with Allegan County's Great Start Collaborative and our early literacy campaign, please fill out the form below. After all, WE are a community that ensures all children have opportunities to learn and understand the meaning and uses of new words.

 "Talking is Teaching" Community Campaign Form:

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