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BABY SAYS

As a Speech Language Pathologist, I have identified a gap between the words that babies first say and the words in babies first books.

Photo of Deena O'Connor

Written by

                                                  BABY SAYS

                             By Deena Dolce O’Connor, MA, CCC-SLP


Babies’ first words are common and made with only simple sounds.


Baby says Mama.

Baby says Dada.

Baby says Pop pop.

Great Uncle Ichabod, 

Baby doesn’t say.


Baby says eat.

Baby says bib. 

Baby says milk. 

Vanilla caramel coffee creamer, 

Baby doesn't say.


Baby says coat.

Baby says hat. 

Baby says boot. 

Foldable travel umbrella, 

Baby doesn’t say. 


Baby says bus. 

Baby says bike. 

Baby says walk. 

Commuter regional rail line, 

Baby doesn’t say. 


Baby says cat. 

Baby says dog. 

Baby says bunny. 

Oriental roller pigeon, 

Baby doesn’t say. 


Baby says bee.

Baby says ant.

Baby says bug.

Brushed footed butterfly,

Baby doesn’t say.

 

Baby says duck.

Baby says toad.

Baby says guppy.

Yellow-bellied slider turtle,

Baby doesn’t say.


Baby says ape. 

Baby says hippo. 

Baby says emu. 

Panamanian golden frog, 

Baby doesn't say. 


Baby says book. 

Baby says pen. 

Baby says backpack. 

Lined loose leaf filler paper, 

Baby doesn’t say.


Baby says bat.

Baby says cap.

Baby says mitt. 

Left-handed relief pitcher,

Baby doesn’t say. 

  

Baby says bean. 

Baby says pea. 

Baby says beet. 

Local organic asparagus, 

Baby doesn’t say. 


Baby says cake. 

Baby says pop. 

Baby says cookie. 

Chocolate cherry cheesecake,

Baby doesn’t say.

 

Baby says one. 

Baby says two. 

Baby says ten. 

Seventeen hundred and seventy six, 

Baby doesn’t say. 


Baby says home. 

Baby says hug. 

Baby says cup. 

Orange oolong herbal tea

Baby doesn't say.

 

Baby says bed. 

Baby says moon. 

Baby says night night. 

I appreciate all you do for me, 

Baby doesn’t say. 

Describe the intended vision for your early childhood book manuscript in 1-2 sentences

BABY SAYS is based on the idea of creating a 230 word book written with sounds that babies can say. This serve and return concept book is an interactive read-aloud targeted for children ages 0-3 years who are building vocabulary and developing articulation skills. Written in a meta-book style, adult readers soon realize the norms of speech and language development as baby and caregiver notice all there is to see at the park, the school, the ball field, the local market and finally back home.

Share your suggested book title

BABY SAYS

PLEASE USE THE VERSION OF THIS QUESTION AT THE TOP OF THE SUBMISSION FORM: Share a draft of your manuscript (250 word limit, not including title).

BABY SAYS By Deena Dolce O’Connor, MA, CCC-SLP Babies’ first words are made with only simple sounds. Baby says Mama. Baby says Dada. Baby says Poppi. Great Uncle Benjamin, Baby doesn’t say. Baby says bee. Baby says ant. Baby says bug. Marbled orb weaver spider, Baby doesn’t say. Baby says pig. Baby says cow. Baby says pony. Oriental Roller Pigeon, Baby doesn’t say. Baby says cat. Baby says dog. Baby says bunny. Winter white dwarf hamster, Baby doesn’t say. Baby says duck. Baby says toad. Baby says guppy. Yellow-bellied slider turtle, Baby doesn’t say. Baby says bean. Baby says pea. Baby says potato. Local organic asparagus, Baby doesn’t say. Baby says cake. Baby says pop. Baby says cookie. Chocolate cherry cheesecake, Baby doesn’t say. Baby says hat. Baby says boot. Baby says mitten. Italian cashmere sweater vest, Baby doesn’t say. Baby says boat. Baby says bike. Baby says wagon. Eighteen-wheeler tractor trailer, Baby doesn’t say. Baby says bat. Baby says cap. Baby says mitt. Left-handed relief pitcher, Baby doesn’t say. Baby says kite. Baby says yo yo. Baby says tea cup. Frozen heart-shaped teething ring, Baby doesn’t say. Baby says book. Baby says bus. Baby says backpack. Lined loose leaf filler paper, Baby doesn’t say. Baby says one. Baby says two. Baby says ten. Seventeen hundren and seventy six, Baby doesn’t say. Baby says bed. Baby says moon. Baby says good night. I appreciate all you do for me, Baby doesn’t say.

How has this book been informed by early childhood language development research and evidence? (response minimum 250 Characters)

Sander and colleagues determined the age of customary consonant production in 1972. Since then, it has been accepted that /b, p, m, n, h, w/ are acquired by 90% of children between 0-2 years of age. At 3, the additional sounds /k, g, t, d/ are added to their sound inventory. Children are not able to produce /l, r, th, sh, ch, j, f, v, s, z/ between 0-3 years old. These later developing sounds require more oral motor control and are learned between 4 and 8 years of age. (Sander, E. K. (1972). When are speech sounds learned? Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, 37(1), 55–63.) Isabel Beck outlined three tiers of words to categorize vocabulary encountered by readers. To build receptive language skills, it is important for children be exposed to many words, but expressively, it's the Tier I words that babies first say. (Isabel L. Beck, Margaret G. McKeown, and Linda Kucan (2002, 2008)

Please describe any familiarity you may have with Philadelphia and its residents? (optional question)

I live just over the bridge in South Jersey and have worked with families in their natural settings for 20 years. Whether it's through NJ's Early Intervention Program or the Intermediary Unit, Speech Therapists like me are coaching parents as their children's first teachers. What I have learned from going into homes throughout the greater Philadelphia area is that no matter your culture, socio-economics or religious beliefs, the strategies to support child language development are the same.

How have you crafted this manuscript to resonate with and/or reflect the experiences of those living in urban contexts? (optional question)

I have written this manuscript as an interactive read aloud between the child and the adult. As baby and caregiver set out the door into the rainy streets, baby says boot, but will never remember the foldable travel umbrella. As they walk between the puddles, baby sees city buses and messenger bikes, dog walkers and watchful cats. Past the park and the mural of the zoo, the sun comes out over the wonderful things to see in the city. Walking home past the school and the ball field, they stop at the local market and neighborhood bakery. As they return to their home full of hugs, there is so much baby has seen, but not everything baby can say.

Location: Country

USA

Location: State or Department

New Jersey

Location: City

Haddonfield

Tell us more about you / your team

I am a Speech Language Pathologist with expertise in early childhood development. I've spend my career coaching families to facilitate language and answering the question "Why doesn't my baby talk?" I am an alumni of Villanova and return to campus each year to speak to students about careers in health care. I received my masters at NYU and a certification to treat hearing impaired patients with Cochlear Implants at CHOP. I am a member of Angela Duckworth's Character Lab at Penn and supporter of XPN. I am an active volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House in Philadelphia. Currently employed at Haddonfield Public Schools, my special education students and I participated in the Philadelphia Zoo's Unless Contest to raise awareness and money towards conservation. As a member of SCBWI, I believe that through children's books we learn to take care of our world, each other and ourselves.

Provide an example visual identity for a look and feel you might like to achieve. ( (optional question, 3-5 visuals)

Baby says what baby hears. If readers model concrete words made with simple sounds, then baby says them back!

Multiple Choice - Have you been previously published (online, self-published, and print included)?

  • No

Do you have an agent?

  • No

How did you hear about the Challenge? (optional question)

  • Someone in my network (word of mouth)

What best describes you? (optional question)

  • I am an educator with a passion for picture books

27 comments

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Photo of Robyn Campbell
Team

Love this. I appreciate the spaces you left in the text for the art. Great job. It made me smile too!

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