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UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland and Too Small to Fail Announce Expansion of “Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing” Campaign

Program expands to Main Hospital and launches “Reading Circles”

OAKLAND, CA (Sept. 24, 2015) - UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland and Too Small to Fail will expand their innovative “Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing" campaign beyond hospital patients and their families in the primary care clinic to reach families receiving inpatient services and treatment in specialty clinics.

The expansion will begin with a “Talk, Read, Sing” day at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland’s Outpatient Center on Tuesday, September 29 at 10:30 am. The event will feature Children’s CEO Dr. Bertram Lubin, Oakland School Board Trustee Rosie Torres, and Too Small to Fail Director Kara Dukakis. Sherry Hu, retired KPIX/CBS Reporter/Anchor will serve as MC for the event.

The event will also feature songs with Tiny Rock, a story from storyteller Ruth Halpern, bilingual stories with Oakland librarian Laurie Willhalm, bookmaking with CoachArt, and reading of stories by Children’s staff and community members. Parents, children and caregivers from the community have been invited to attend, and Scholastic will be donating over 500 books for families to take home from the event.

The “Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing” campaign, which was launched in July 2014, provides parents and caregivers with information and tools to give their kids the best start in school and in life. The campaign raises awareness of the importance of talking, reading, and singing to children starting in infancy to boost their early brain and language development.

Until now, the program within the main hospital has largely consisted of signage with the campaign’s signature creative. With this expansion, the program will actively reach thousands more families each month throughout the hospital. The hospital will be launching Reading Circles, to encourage and model for parents and caregivers reading with their children on a regular basis. In addition, the hospital will debut a channel with closed captioned videos to be shown on inpatient wards and in waiting rooms, which will feature doctors and hospital staff reading their favorite stories so that patients can hear a bedtime story any hour of the day.

“The message is simple: the more you talk, read and sing with your child at home starting at birth, the better prepared your child will be for school. Children who succeed in school often have less health problems. This is our way of contributing to Alameda County and our surrounding counties’ efforts to change disparities and improve school success for our next generation of citizens,” said UCSF Benioff Oakland CEO Dr. Bertram Lubin.

“Small actions can make a big difference in a child’s early learning and brain development,” said Kara Dukakis, Director of Too Small to Fail. “By expanding our “Talking is Teaching: Talk Read, Sing” campaign to reach more families in Oakland, we will help parents and caregivers make the most of everyday interactions with their children and prepare them for success in school and in life.”

This program would not be possible without the support of Marc and Lynne Benioff, Scholastic, and Oakland Public Libraries.