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National “Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing” Campaign Comes to L.A. County

Campaign Will Promote Importance of Early Language and Brain Development to New Parents


LOS ANGELES – Celebrating National Reading Month, First 5 LA and Too Small to Fail today announced a strategic partnership that will bring the national “Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing” campaign to the families of Los Angeles County through First 5 LA’s Welcome Baby program, a family support and parent coaching initiative for new and expecting parents.  

The campaign promotes early brain and language development by encouraging parents to engage in language-rich activities with their young children starting at birth. “Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing” shares with parents and caregivers how simple actions — like describing objects seen during a walk or bus ride, singing songs, or telling stories — can significantly improve a baby’s ability to learn new words and concepts. Studies have found that when parents engage in meaningful ways with their children from the moment they’re born, they develop critical language, math and social-emotional skills.

Los Angeles is the ninth community in the country to implement the Talking is Teaching campaign, joining Oakland, Tulsa, Minneapolis, Miami and others in their efforts to encourage families to turn everyday moments into learning opportunities for their children. The campaign uses a variety of tools to help parents to narrate moments during every day routines, bolstering communication between parent and child and promoting stronger early brain and language development in children. 

“This partnership highlights how First 5 LA is leveraging local and national resources to benefit children and families in L.A. County,” said Kim Belshé, Executive Director of First 5 LA. “We know parents can optimize early childhood development if they have tools, knowledge and support available. The Talking is Teaching campaign, in partnership with our Welcome Baby program, will help deliver the information and support parents’ need to help make a difference in their children’s lives.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends pediatric providers advise parents of young children that reading aloud and talking about pictures and words in age-appropriate books can strengthen language skills, literacy development and parent-child relationships.

“We are delighted to be working with First 5 LA to help parents understand that the time they spend talking with their young children, telling them stories, singing, reading books and asking questions, helps set them on a path towards success in school and life,” said Kara Dukakis, Director of Too Small to Fail for The Opportunity Institute. “By combining First 5 LA’s Welcome Baby with Too Small to Fail’s on the ground efforts we will be a powerful force working together to boost early brain and language development among 0-5-year-olds.”

Too Small to Fail continues its commitment to the guiding principle of locally integrating the campaign into the existing community infrastructure. Welcome Baby and Too Small to Fail share the same goal: to provide resources and support to parents and caregivers that greatly enhance the well-being and development of their young children. 

Resources for Families

As part of the Welcome Baby program, new parents and caregivers are receiving high-quality Talking is Teaching materials during home visits — including a CD, Sesame Street Family Resource guide and receiving blanket — with prompts that encourage parents to talk, read, and sing with their children every day starting at birth. These materials supplement the existing programming provided by parent coaches through pregnancy and the first nine months of their baby’s life. 

A Focus on Bilingualism

Building on its multiyear national partnership with Univision called “Pequeños y Valiosos” (Small and Valuable), Too Small to Fail is also working with Univision’s affiliate television and radio stations in Los Angeles to provide in-depth news and information to its audience on early education and parenting. Pequeños y Valiosos content sponsored by First 5 LA will begin in April and run through November 2017. 

Developing a child’s home language provides the foundation for reading, writing, and school success, research shows. Bilingual and multilingual children benefit from knowing more than one language in many ways. Because they are able to switch between languages, they develop more flexible approaches to thinking through problems. The ability to read and think in two (or more) languages promotes higher levels of abstract thought, which is important in learning. 

Research also shows people who use more than one language appear better at filtering out distractions, a benefit that may emerge as early as seven months of age. Children who learn to read in their home language have a strong foundation to build upon when they learn a second language. 

First 5 LA’s partnership with Too Small to Fail is an example of a commitment to leverage resources for maximum impact. The Talking is Teaching campaign will be complemented by a public awareness campaign focused on building strong families that will run county wide.

“By bringing to bear the combined resources of First 5 LA and Too Small to Fail, we know we can reach many more parents and caregivers with messages about how their daily actions can impact their children’s futures,” concluded Belshé. 

Go to the First 5 LA’s parenting website for more information and Too Small to Fail’s Talking is Teaching website for free resources. 




First 5 LA is a leading early childhood advocacy and public grantmaking organization created by California voters to invest Proposition 10 tobacco tax revenues in Los Angeles County. In partnership with others, First 5 LA strengthens families, communities, and systems of services and supports so that all children in L.A. County enter kindergarten ready to succeed in school and life. Please visit www.first5la.org for more information.



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