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A Village Turns Out to Close the Word Gap

Too Small to Fail
By Too Small to Fail

From hospitals to churches, community centers to early learning facilities, many dedicated people across the country are working to close the word gap.

This past year has been an important one for Too Small to Fail. We’ve built new partnerships and made many new friends along the way. The truth is that many dedicated people are working on closing the word gap around the country—from hospitals to churches, community centers to early learning facilities—but our emerging work together has helped to elevate the importance of talking, reading and singing to children from birth in order to build young brains and change the future of America. And we’re starting to see great results.

Last week, Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke at the annual American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) conference in San Diego. During her speech, she announced the launch of the AAP’s updated early literacy toolkit for pediatricians and parents, which provides information and tips for doctors to speak with parents about early brain development and why talking, reading and singing regularly to children from birth helps their health and well-being. The toolkit is titled “Books Build Connections”, and was developed in partnership with Too Small to Fail. It is available online for free at www.aap.org/literacy.

We then made our way to Dreamforce 2014, an annual multi-day software and technology conference produced by Salesforce in San Francisco. At Dreamforce, hundreds of volunteers joined Secretary Clinton, Marc Benioff and our partners UPS, Bay Area Council, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, Kaiser Permanente, and Goodby Silverstein & Partners to stuff thousands of tote bags with books, CDs, clothes, and other materials. The tote bags are part of our “Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing” campaign, and will go to families in Oakland to help them close the word gap.

Finally, we wrapped our week up in Washington DC, where we gathered with more than 100 federal agency representatives, early childhood advocates, pediatricians, city mayors and many others to announce new initiatives, discuss ways that communities are tackling the problem of the word gap, and to share new research about language development. It was an inspiring and informative day, and participants left energized to take on the word gap in new ways.

We couldn’t do what we do without our partners, but also without the parents, caregivers and caring communities that want to help our next generation of children succeed. Thank you for all that you do, and we continue to look forward to our work together.

LISTEN: In Seattle, parents learn how talking with their children from birth establishes a solid foundation for life. >>

Posted In: Newsletter