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Too Small to Fail, Text4Baby and Sesame Street Launch First National Text-to-Parents Program to Support Young Children's Early Language Development

New York, NY — Too Small to Fail and Sesame Street launched today a new text-to-parents program in partnership with the free mobile health information service, Text4baby, to distribute research-based tips to new parents about the importance of talking, reading and singing with their newborn children. The service will reach Text4baby’s network of subscribers that has reached more than 820,000 parents nationwide at no charge to participants.

This new text-to-parents program of 'Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing’ is the first national partnership to use texting to deliver tips on early language development to parents of infants. Research-based tips developed by Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organization behind Sesame Street, will provide parents with specific ways they can promote their infants’ early language development and support Sesame’s mission to help all kids grow smarter, stronger and kinder. Each early language development tip sent out through Text4baby will also be paired with a link to an engaging and relevant video, also produced by Sesame Workshop. These videos, featuring real parents and children, as well as the Sesame Street Muppets, will model for parents how to engage in the specific behaviors promoted through the tips.

From meal time to bath time to bed time, text messages will span a wide range of topics aimed at helping parents find fun and meaningful ways to incorporate talking, reading and singing to their babies into their everyday moments and routines.  For additional parenting resources, visit www.talkingisteaching.org and www.sesamestreet.org/talking.

Originally announced at Clinton Global Initiative America, this partnership builds off the latest research about the power and potential of providing parents with key information to promote early literacy development through text messaging. Recent research has found that communicating with parents through mobile text can be a highly effective strategy for producing positive learning outcomes for children. A new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that San Francisco preschoolers whose parents received text messages with highly-specific tips on reading to their children or helping them sound out letters and words performed better on literacy tests than children whose parents did not receive such messages.

Read the full article in People for more from Chelsea Clinton on building young brains and bonding with her baby girl.

Beginning today, parents who have signed up for the Text4baby service will receive early language development messages beginning from their baby’s 9th week of development, and every other week thereafter until their baby turns one. The text-based tips will be made available in both English and Spanish. Too Small to Fail will also work with community partners and pediatricians in Tulsa, OK and Oakland, CA, as well as in other cities across the country, to encourage parents of infants to sign up for the service. 

New parents can sign up for this service by texting BABY (or BEBE in Spanish) to 511411. To access even more early learning tips and information, visit www.talkingisteaching.org.

Contact:

FRANCESCA ERNST

The Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation

fernst@clintonfoundation.org

(646) 775-9139

PAM HACKER

Sesame Street

pam.hacker@sesame.org

(212) 875-6225

AMY PIRRETTI

Text4baby

apirretti@text4baby.org

630-715-0472

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About Too Small to Fail

Too Small to Fail, a joint initiative of the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation and Next Generation, aims to help parents, communities and businesses take meaningful actions to improve the health and well-being of children ages zero to five, so that more of America’s children are prepared to succeed in the 21st century.

In 2014, Too Small to Fail is focused on closing the “word gap.” Studies have found that by age four, children in middle and upper income families hear 30 million more words than their lower income peers. This disparity in hearing words from parents and caregivers translates directly into a disparity in learning words. And that puts our children born with the fewest advantages even further behind. Among those born in 2001, only 48 percent of poor children started school ready to learn, compared to 75 percent of children from middle-income families.

The “word gap” is a significant but solvable challenge. Too Small to Fail is about parents, caregivers, other concerned individuals, and the private sector coming together to take small, research-based actions with big impacts.

Learn more at www.toosmall.org and on Twitter @2SmalltoFail.

About Sesame Workshop

Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street which reaches 156 million children across more than 150 countries. The Workshop’s mission is to use the educational power of media to help all children reach their highest potential. Delivered through a variety of platforms, including television programs, digital experiences, books and community engagement, its research-based programs are tailored to the needs of the communities and countries they serve, helping children everywhere grow smarter, stronger and kinder. For more information, visit us at www.sesameworkshop.org.

About Text4baby

Text4baby is the nation’s only free mobile information service designed to promote maternal and child health through text messaging.  Text4baby is provided through a public-private partnership of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB), Voxiva, The Wireless Foundation and over 1,200 national, state and local health organizations including the Department of Health and Human Services and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.   The service is completely free for the more than 800,000 mothers who have enrolled thanks to the generous support of America’s leading wireless carriers. To learn more, please visit www.text4baby.org.

About The Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation

The Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation convenes businesses, governments, NGOs, and individuals to improve global health and wellness, increase opportunity for women and girls, reduce childhood obesity, create economic opportunity and growth, and help communities address the effects of climate change.  Because of our work, 26,000 American schools are providing kids with healthy food choices in an effort to eradicate childhood obesity; 21,000 farmers in Malawi have improved their incomes by more than 500 percent; 248 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions are being reduced in cities worldwide; more than 5,000 people have been trained in marketable job skills in Colombia; more than 8.2 million people have benefited from lifesaving HIV/AIDS medications; $100 million in strategic investments have been made, impacting the health of 50 million people in the U.S.; and members of the Clinton Global Initiative have made nearly 3,100 Commitments to Action to improve more than 430 million lives around the world. Learn more at www.clintonfoundation.org, and on Twitter @ClintonFdn.

About Next Generation

Next Generation promotes solutions to two of the biggest challenges confronting the next generation of Americans: The risk of dangerous climate change, and the threat of diminished prospects for children and families. Through the use of non-partisan research, policy development, and strategic communications, we identify strategies that help deploy clean, advanced energy technologies; we also work to ensure a level playing field from which today’s kids can build a brighter future. 

Learn more at www.thenextgeneration.org, and on Twitter @nextgen_USA.