f t 9 !

Mayor Hodges Launches Minneapolis "Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing" Campaign

Minneapolis Campaign Joins National Too Small to Fail Initiative to Raise Awareness about Early Learning and Brain Development in Children 

June 21, 2016 (MINNEAPOLIS) — Mayor Betsy Hodges announced today the launch of the “Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing” campaign to boost the early brain development and language skills of children in Minneapolis from birth. “Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing” is a community-wide effort with promotion from Too Small to Fail, a joint initiative of The Opportunity Institute and the Clinton Foundation. People Serving People hosted the launch event.

“Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing” aims to motivate parents and caregivers to talk, read, and sing more with young children, starting at birth. Nearly 60 percent of American children begin kindergarten underprepared, lagging behind their peers in critical language, math, and social-emotional skills. Research shows that simple, everyday interactions with young children – such as describing objects seen during a walk or bus ride, singing songs, or telling stories – can build their vocabularies, prepare them for school, and lay a strong foundation for lifelong learning.

“Encouraging early brain and language development is a crucial step toward securing the futures of our young children,” said Mayor Hodges. “We want to establish a culture in Minneapolis that we talk, read, and sing to young children. Science has told us clearly that this simple step can help prepare our children for brighter futures.”

"Ensuring Minnesota is a state that works for everyone, everywhere, begins with our youngest learners," said Governor Dayton. "I applaud Mayor Hodges for her leadership on this new program, which will help to close educational achievement gaps in Minneapolis. We must continue working together to ensure all Minnesota children have a strong start, and the opportunities they need to succeed in school and in life." 

“We are thrilled that the City of Minneapolis is joining this national movement to support early brain development as our eighth Talking is Teaching city and look forward to working with the Mayor's Office and local organizations to support families in the area," said Kara Dukakis, Director of Too Small to Fail at The Opportunity Institute.

“I am excited that we have so many amazing partners invested in this campaign,” said Mayor Hodges. 

The Talking is Teaching campaign is partnering with trusted messengers, including the Reach Out and Read program, which works with pediatricians and clinics to promote early literacy in clinic settings; philanthropic partners including Greater Twin Cities United Way, which has provided grant funding to help support the campaign; Cradle to K stakeholders; and many other community partners. 

These partnerships will support parents and provide them with the tools and resources they need in order to assist in the early brain development of their babies and very young children. Some of these partners will distribute Talking is Teaching materials directly to families, encouraging parents to talk, read, and sing with their children. Other partners have made active commitments to support young children and parents by donating books, holding employee book drives, hosting parent engagement sessions, training parents to become Talking is Teaching parent ambassadors, and helping to share information through social media.

As part of the Minneapolis Talking is Teaching campaign launch week, The Fred Rogers Company and Twin Cities PBS (TPT) will be hosting parent engagement sessions to help spread the word about the importance of early learning with the stars of Peg + Cat, the Emmy Award-winning animated children’s series. Events will be held from June 21 through June 24 in collaboration with YWCA Minneapolis, Way to Grow, Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota and Hennepin County Library.

The City is also partnering with Landscape Structures, a company headquartered in Delano, MN. Landscape Structures manufactures innovative commercial playground equipment for schools and parks. Landscape Structures will develop Minneapolis’ first literacy playground which will integrate Talking is Teaching conversation prompts into the playground design.   

Talking is Teaching will include a community-wide multi-media campaign reinforcing these messages, including bus ads, billboards, and media spots. As the campaign continues, resources will be available on the Minneapolis City website and the Minneapolis “Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing” Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MplsTalkingisTeaching/.


Office of Mayor Betsy Hodges
Contact: David Prestwood


About People Serving People

People Serving People is the largest and most comprehensive family-focused shelter in Minnesota. A leader in the Twin Cities’ social services and educational fields for more than 30 years, People Serving People helps homeless and at-risk children and their families manage crisis situations and build a strong foundation for their long-term success. People Serving People’s fully licensed Four Star Parent Aware-rated Early Childhood Development Program serves more than 400 children annually. For more information, visit http://www.peopleservingpeople.org. 

About Too Small to Fail

Too Small to Fail, a joint initiative of the Clinton Foundation and The Opportunity Institute, is leading a public awareness and action campaign to promote the importance of early brain and language development and to empower parents with tools to talk, read, and sing with their young children from birth. Today, almost 60 percent of children in the United States start kindergarten unprepared, lagging behind their peers in critical language, math, and social-emotional skills. Through partnerships with pediatricians, hospitals, faith-based leaders, community based organizations, businesses, entertainment industry leaders, and others, Too Small to Fail is meeting parents where they are to help them prepare their children for success in school and beyond. Whether at the pediatrician's office or the playground, Too Small to Fail aims to make small moments big by creating opportunities for meaningful interactions anytime, anywhere. 

Learn more at www.toosmall.org. Find resources for parents and caregivers at www.talkingisteaching.org or on Facebook (www.facebook.com/2smalltofail), Twitter (@2SmalltoFail), and Instagram (www.instagram.com/2smalltofail).