Jun 26
June 26, 2014

Working Together to Close the Word Gap


Our children deserve the best possible chance at success and research shows that one of the greatest ways we can help lay a strong foundation for learning is by talking, reading and singing to them from the moment they are born.

But unfortunately, many children, especially those in low-income families, are not getting the support and resources they need, which leads to achievement gaps in school and exacerbates our country’s challenges with inequality and mobility. 

Research tells us that children from lower income families have heard up to 30 million fewer words than their higher income peers. By the time they enter school, they have substantially smaller vocabularies and content knowledge than many of their classmates.  Experts call this the “word gap,” and it leads directly to an “achievement gap.” And unfortunately, the gaps that exist in the early years persist largely throughout life.

But, the good news is that the word gap is a problem we can solve together.  Simple, everyday interactions such as talking, reading and signing to young children can build their brain development and expand their vocabularies.  So at the Clinton Foundation, we’ve partnered with the non-profit organization, Next Generation, to launch a public action and awareness campaign called “Too Small to Fail” to provide parents the information and tools they need boost their young children’s vocabulary development.

Too Small to Fail is working to reach parents in many ways and across multiple touchpoints with simple steps they can take to help close the word gap. That’s why we are thrilled that a group of bipartisan leaders are amplifying the message by lending their voices to raise awareness about this important issue. We’ve partnered with pediatricians, technology companies, media organizations, book publishers, local community organizations, and even Hollywood to spread our message to parents far and wide.

As part of a video campaign, Secretary Clinton is joining President Obama, former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, and Cindy McCain to further educate parents, and caregivers about the importance of talking, reading and singing to young children from the very beginning.


Join us by sharing this video with your networks to help us raise awareness on this critical issue. As these leaders note, it’s simple, everyday actions that can make all the difference in helping give our children what they need to succeed - both in school and in life.