Change Language
May 11, 2016

New Early Literacy Initiative Aims to Narrow the "Word Gap"

Evanston Cradle to Career, announces Talk, Read, Sing, an early childhood literacy initiative that provides digital tools to parents and caregivers for encouraging brain development and a healthy learning environment for our youngest children. The initiative, developed by EC2C’s Parent/Caregiver Empowerment Action Team, is aimed at parents/caregivers of children ages 0-3. Talk, Read, Sing offers regular text messaging and recommends the use of a free app called Vroom to promote consistent, healthy communication habits that can have a profound, positive impact on the rapidly developing brains of young children.

To sign up for Talk, Read, Sing text messaging, all parents and caregivers can text COE TRS1 to 468311. Twice a week, participants will receive supportive text messageincluding reminders such as: talking about colors when taking a walk, playing peek-a-boo when dressing a child, singing as you pick up toys, reading books every day, and encouraging them in their hard work as parents. We are reaching out to families of young children with this initiative through the library, at preschools, Head Start programs and home daycare providers in Evanston. Questions about the Talk, Read, Sing program can be emailed to Evanston Public Library Community Outreach Librarian, Laura Antolin.

Research has suggested that by age four, children in low income families hear 30 million fewer words than children in middle or upper income families.  Studies confirm that regular reading, singing and talking to very young children from birth forward, as simple as it sounds, is essential for preparing all children to learn, builds early vocabulary, and contributes to healthy brain development. This program is based on research published by the National Bureau of Economic Research that found preschoolers whose parents received text messages with brief 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.

This is a modest, virtually no-cost, intervention which, combined with other efforts, has the potential to help parents in the midst of often stressful, challenging lives, to develop parenting habits that will promote the literacy skills they want for their child.