HilaryFormer Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Oakland last week to launch a new campaign focused on helping parents turn everyday activities into enriching vocabulary-building experiences for their children.

Sponsored by the Bay Area Council, Too Small to Fail, Kaiser Permanente, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, and the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, the ‘Talking is Teaching: Talk Read Sing’ campaign is designed to reduce the “word gap” that puts many low-income children behind their higher income peers before they even start kindergarten.

About the Word Gap

Research shows that low-income children hear about 30 million fewer words than children in high-income families by the time they’re four years old. The more words children hear – whether it’s talking, reading or singing – the richer their vocabulary becomes and the better they do in school. For many children, the word gap leads to an achievement gap that persists into school and beyond.

About the Campaign

busWith its colorful and playful graphics, the campaign provides prompts and ideas for parents to engage with their children in easy yet meaningful ways. It also stresses the importance of creating a language-rich environment for children starting at birth.

The campaign is being piloted in Oakland and includes television ads, radio spots, and ads on billboards, bus shelters and buses showing parents how talking, reading, and singing  can boost their child’s brain development. Special outreach will also take place at Children’s Hospital in Oakland.


There’s also this adorable clothing line for babies and toddlers. Items will be distributed in Oakland neighborhoods and available for purchase on the Talk Read Sing website. Proceeds help support the program and expand its reach in low-income communities.

Once the Oakland pilot is evaluated, the campaign may expand to Santa Clara County. We are starting to explore what it would take to bring it to Contra Costa. In the meantime, hats off to the Bay Area Council, Too Small to Fail, and their partners for promoting this important message in such an inventive way!

Parents and others can learn more by visiting www.talkreadsing.org.

Find more Talk Read Sing Ideas 

For more ideas about how to turn everyday life into learning opportunities, see our On-The-Go activities with ideas for talking and interacting with children at the store, waiting for an appointment, playing outdoors and more!


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