Conversation is the pathway to knowledge"" and is basic to reading, writing and reasoning, says Wiener (Any Child Can Write). Yet, he adds, relatively few parents regularly engage in conversational give-and-take with their children. One result: many children arrive at school lacking the linguistic skills to comprehend what the teacher says, and the basic knowledge of the world they live in to respond intelligibly. Weiner describes how children learn to speak and think, citing research that indicates the two-way conversations are superior to parental monologues in forging language skills. Tiny infants whose parents respond with questions or appropriate comments to preverbal ""language signals"" speak earlier and more effectively. The toddler's immediate environment can lead to all kinds of discourse. Discussions might involve what's being cooked for dinner, the produce in the supermarket, the view from the child's room, a visit to a nearby park or even to a doctor's office. Books are an invaluable language-building resource. The child should be encouraged to talk about the illustrations and text. Even TV can be turned from a passive to active learning experience through discussions about what's going on and what the child thinks of it. Wiener includes a number of ""scripts"" to illustrate how parents can encourage conversation, thus building language skills and knowledge. Rich in ideas, devoid of windiness: a valuable resource for today's busy parents who want to make the most of time spend with their children.