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Supercity Chitchat Train

The Chitchat Train needs power to navigate the supercity. The reading dyad is encouraged to share conversational turns to charge the train.

Photo of Kristy Stark
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Through the valley, chitchat, chitchat,

Creatures stir with a skitter scat.

We gear up for our brain-boost day,

The chitchat train is on its way!

Quick! Hop up on the chitchat train,

Coo, babble, chat, words build your brain.

Sounds and words go ping-pong, ping-pong,

Back-and-forth, we flip-flop, singsong.

Now chug-chug, depart the station.

Your turn, my turn – conversation!

The train track jingle jangle glow,

Guides us with the words you know.

We count your words, stretch out your sounds,

Charge the train with chitchat rounds.

We chitchat sing, and play and read,

Ask who-what-where, help you succeed.

Praise your hard work, every effort you try,

Link stories to life, chitchat how and why.

Tick tock! Time for a chitchat game,

Like lightning, links click-link your brain.

Serve-and-return, show what you know.

Work harder, get smarter. Ready? Go!

CHITCHAT chitchat, CHITCHAT chitchat,

My turn, your turn, just like that.

Now let’s try sounds I’ve heard you make,

If you won’t look, we’ll take a break.

We swizzle switch each sizzle sound,

Form new words for things you’ve found.

Your word bank fills up to the brim,

Your brain space grows to let thoughts in.

Chitchat – VROOM! Supersonic – BOOM!

Your brain, a rocket to the moon.

When we chitchat, serve-and-return,

Your ZIP! ZAP! brain gets trained to learn.

We’ve done it! Charged our train for hours,

With supercity chat brainpower!

Now cuddle closer, chitchat slow,

Warm and connected, snug love grows.

Share your suggested book title

Supercity Chitchat Train

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

This book was written with the goal of disseminating child development research in an accessible way for families with very young children. It endeavors to translate empirical findings from leading academic journals into narrative form so that adults can (1) learn more about child development, (2) see depictions of high-quality adult-child interactions that foster cognitive and language development (via text and illustrations), and (3) be encouraged to engage in the interactions modeled in the book. Since the call to action for this book was specifically related to families in urban contexts who may be facing significant adversity, the concept for this book was inspired by innovative programs that aim to ameliorate the intergenerational transmission of poverty by fostering development in both children and adults. This book aims to strengthen the resources and capabilities of adults who care for very young children in urban contexts by supporting their use of effective interaction.

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

I lived in Johnstown, Pennsylvania for nearly a decade. Both of my children were born in Pennsylvania and I was able to visit Philadelphia with them many times.

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

This manuscript is intended to resonate with adults who care about the child with whom they are reading the book. It involves the experience of commuting on city transportation, having a busy day and returning home. The illustrations I envision will reinforce the lived experience of urban families and the sights, places, and people they encounter in an urban landscape.

Location: Country

United States

Location: State or Department


Location: City

Ann Arbor, MI

Tell us more about you / your team

I'm a behavioral scientist, education researcher, and consultant. I have dedicated my career to improving the lives of young children and families. In particular, my passion is on disseminating effective research and programming for families who need it most, and who are the most difficult to reach.

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)

  • OpenIDEO announcement email

What best describes you? (optional question)

  • behavioral scientist, researcher


Join the conversation:

Photo of Ashanti Antonio Prescott

Some serious play on words going on there. The chitchat train is what the participants make it. The speed and tempo, the rhythm and beat in the words they use.
This is indeed at thoughtful idea. Nice read.

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