Council’s “Talk Read Sing” Initiative Takes Center Stage at Saleforce’s Dreamforce

The Talking is Teaching: Talk Read Sing early childhood education campaign that the Bay Area Council developed in partnership with Too Small to Fail, a joint initiative of The Clinton Foundation and Next Generation, got a big boost this week (Oct. 14) at the Salesforce Dreamforce conference in San Francisco. Council President and CEO Jim Wunderman joined Sec. Hillary Clinton, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, Next Generation Co-Founder James Steyer and dozens of volunteers to stuff Talk Read Sing tote bags that will be distributed to thousands of Oakland families. Rosemary Turner, Northern California District President of UPS, also participated, along with Bertram Lubin, CEO of UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, and Dr. Elio Gizzi, East Bay Chief of General Pediatrics at Kaiser Permanente. UPS generously provided the logistical support needed to store and deliver the tote bags and the books, DVDs and other goodies that went in them. The hospitals are serving as major centers of distribution.

The initiative is focused on arming parents and other caregivers with simple tools they can use in their daily lives to close the word gap by talking, reading and singing to very young children.  Children in low-income families hear up to 30 million fewer words by age four than those in higher-income families. This lack of hearing and learning words means these children enter school with smaller vocabularies and far more likely to fall behind; this achievement gap often persists through school and has lifelong implications for success, health and well-being.

Meanwhile, on the opposite coast Council Vice President Matt Regan traveled to the White House on Wednesday (Oct. 15) for a full-day workshop with top business, academic, nonprofit and government leaders to discuss cutting-edge research findings on effective solutions and strategies designed to bridge the early language gap. And on Monday (Oct. 20), Council CEO Wunderman will participate in a White House Town Hall in San Francisco on early education with U.S. Education Sec. Arne Duncan, Early Edge California President Deborah Kong and former state Senate President Darrell Steinberg. To engage in the Council’s early childhood education work, please contact Vice President Matt Regan.

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