This week, we launched an exciting new campaign called “Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing” in Oakland, California to help families and caregivers support their children’s early language development. This is Too Small To Fail’s latest effort to close the “word gap” – a difference of about 30 million words that children in higher-income families hear by age 4, compared to those in lower-income families. Children who enter school with smaller vocabularies are more likely to fall behind; this achievement gap often persists through childhood and has lifelong implications for success, health, and well-being. The good news is that parents and caregivers can help close the word gap by talking, reading and singing to their children from every day starting from birth.
In March, Too Small to Fail launched its first city effort in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This time in Oakland, local business and community leaders, including the Bay Area Council, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland and Kaiser Permanente have teamed up with Too Small To Fail to launch a multi-platform campaign called “Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read Sing” to raise awareness about the word gap and encourage low-income families in Oakland to talk, read, and sing with their children.
Here are 6 Ways We Are Working to Help Close the Word Gap in Oakland, CA:
1. Television commercials and radio spots that raise awareness about the word gap.
2. A new clothing line for infants and toddlers with fun designs that provide ideas on what parent can talk with babies about as part of their everyday routines. The clothes are produced by Oaklandish and will be distributed by local partners to low-income families.
3. Parent-child conversation prompts like “Let’s Talk About the Bus” on billboards and bus shelters around Oakland.
4. A targeted three year campaign at the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland to create a model program for how children’s hospitals can actively address the word gap as a health issue.
5. A “Talking, Reading, and Singing Together” toolkit of educational materials will be produced by Sesame Street in partnership with Too Small to Fail. Local organizations, churches, libraries, and health care providers will distribute the materials directly to parents and caregivers and use them to facilitate community workshops and events to promote early literacy.
6. A new Clinton Global Initiative commitment by Kaiser Permanente, to distribute Too Small to Fail resources, including the Sesame Street toolkit, to all parents of newborns and 18-month-olds in their medical center in Oakland.
Learn more about our campaign in Oakland and join us in raising awareness about the importance of talking, reading, and singing with your children by using the official hashtag #LetsTalkOakland on Twitter.