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This blog is about ways for moms and dads to talk more to our babies and toddlers.  We start with a strategy we call Say-What-You-See. Say-what-you-see does not involve more time, just more words.  We are in the process of writing a series of workbooks on different strategies for parents, home visitors, doctors, and personnel at day care centers to increase the vocabularies of the children they care for. Three moms, who also work in day care, will share our ideas, and we invite you to share yours.

Tammy Steele

Author and Creator

Tammy Steele has three grandchildren, ages 4, 2, and 7 months old. She lives in downtown Chicago, in the same building they do. She has an M.Ed. from National Louis University in Early Childhood Education and is currently a retired educator/consultant who has fifteen years experience working as an educator/consultant under a variety of grants with Chicago Public Schools. She has worked as a facilitator and mentor in many early childhood/day care centers, as well as, arts-integrated curriculum development projects.

Michelle Dinneen-White
Michelle Dinneen-White
Founder of Play Smart Literacy

After twenty years of classroom teaching, Dinneen-White chose to spread her wings by creating an innovative and mobile family literacy outreach group.   Dinneen-White and her band of Play Coaches connect with moms at pop-up play parties all over Chicago’s south side. At libraries, shelters, Head Start and Family Literacy Sites, they invite babies, toddlers and preschoolers, and their parents to play. Their play is informed by literacy activities like say-what-you-see. In addition to meeting face to face for literacy-informed play, Dinneen-White has added multiple touchpoints to connect with those moms again using technology.  #TalkandPlay and offer moms the chance to share their play-smart-literacy experiences on-line. Moms are rewarded with books and toys for visiting the website and sharing or video-taping a play date at home.  They can also connect on instagram, e-mail or by replying to Remind texting. In addition to sharing valuable literacy experiences, moms can find other valuable parenting play ideas on Play Smart’s Pinterest boards.


Talk to Me Mama is proud to partner with Play Smart Literacy. During the winter of 2019-20 we have made joint presentations at national conferences in Louisville, Nashville, and Chicago on the value of language-informed play for infants and toddlers later academic and personal success.   

Tracey Young
Tracey Young
Senior Director for Early Learning Programs
Marillac St. Vincent de Paul Family Services

Tracey Young has an M.Ed. from Erikson Institute. She has coached and mentored teachers, parents  and children from birth to twelve years old for the last 18 years in North Lawndale and Little Village in Chicago. She began her career as a literacy coordinator and is now the Senior Director of Early Learning Programs for Marillac St. Vincent Family Services in the East Garfield neighborhood of Chicago. She has taught literacy courses at Kendall College and Daley College. 

Daphne Sajous-Brady Consultant
Daphne Sajous-Brady and 2 little girls

Daphne Sajous-Brady is the mother of two girls and holds three degrees (B.S., M.A., and Ph.D.) from the Northwestern University Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, and the focus of her studies has been on language development, reading, written language, and learning disabilities.  Over nearly 20 years she has taught in school settings as a learning resource teacher including an American accredited school in her home country of Haiti. She has been a Lecturer and a Clinic Supervisor at the Northwestern University Speech, Language, and Learning Clinic and the Director of Student Support at the Ancona School and Wolcott School. 

May Fathallah
May Fathallah
Web designer & Front End Developer

May Fathallah is a web designer and front-end developer based in the Western suburbs of Chicago with a passion for digital marketing. After being a stay-at-home mom and raising her 3 kids for 10 years, May attended the College of DuPage and became certified in Graphic Design for the Web, as a Web Technician, and in Digital Marketing. May helps small business owners and non-profits design responsive websites and landing pages in order to boost their businesses. Her focuses are creating visually engaging graphic design elements and administering changes, adjustments, and updates to the sites.   

Support parents. Grow their children’s vocabulary. Give every family The Gift of Words. It doesn’t take more time. It takes more words. Discount for bulk orders:

call 773-327-0806.

Alphabet Cubes
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