Program title: Talking is Teaching: Opportunities for Increasing Early Brain and Language Development
Program description: Everyday interactions such as talking, reading, and singing strengthen early brain development. Libraries are uniquely positioned to support and equip parents and caregivers with tools to be their child’s first teachers. Too Small to Fail and the San Francisco Public Library will present opportunities and share materials on how to best engage families in language-rich activities so that more of America’s children are prepared for success – both in school and in life.
Presenters: Jane Park Woo, Deputy Director, Too Small to Fail, New York, NY
Maricela Leon Barrera, Early Learning Coordinator, San Francisco Public Library, San Francisco, CA
Visit the conference website for more information or program handouts.
This was the first concurrent program that I attended at PLA. Meaning, I had the choice of several other programs during that same time slot.
The speakers provided some research first focusing on the word gap and the importance of talking, reading, and singing. The most dramatic time for brain growth is ages 0-5.
Goals of Too Small to Fail (TSTF): Increase awareness and spark positive change in parents and communities to boost early brain and language development in children ages 0-5.
- For parents and young children, make small moments big.
- For communities, empower people and places to make these moments happen more often.
Too Small to Fail has free handouts in English/Spanish. All are open source.
Talking is Teaching is a campaign of Too Small to Fail that focuses on talk, read, and sing and has three main components to motivate behavior change:
1.Trusted messengers in community touch points
2.Environmental prompts & paid media
3.Tools to facilitate change
The program is powered by local and national sponsors
Meet families where they are – laundromats (Wash Time is Talk Time) — coordinated through the Coin Laundry Association (Who knew there was such a thing?), playgrounds (using conversation prompts), grocery stores, hospitals, and bus stops (ads).
Talking is Teaching is all open source and is available for co-branding. Letter for librarians, talking points to share with parents, resources for librarians. www.talkingisteaching.org/communities
Why did Too Small to Fail work with libraries?
- A trusted partner in the community
- Wide reach in every neighborhood
- Amplify other early literacy initiatives
Why did San Francisco Public Library (SFPL) want to work with TSTF?
- It was successful in the neighboring system, Oakland PL
- Alignment with Every Child Ready to Read
- Enhance early learning efforts
- Partner in education
- Graphics are inviting
Early Learning at San Francisco Public Library sfpl.org/earlyliteracy
- Every Child Ready to Read Workshop (ECRR) – modeling storytime, key things to do while you read, and hand out talk, read, sing bags
- Play to Learn areas in all branches
- Storytimes in braille and ASL
- Big SF Playdates – different centers to play in
- Early Literacy Buffet for educators – each child care teacher was provided a bag as a trusted messenger to expand reach.
Wanted to bring in families on the margin. As an opener, they ask parents/caregivers, “How many of you talk to your kids?” Share with families about the building blocks of ECRR.
- Staff training from Talking is Teaching, including the why of the program
- Making it SFPL (local). Set up an Early Literacy Advisory Committee (note to self: ask for documentation)
- Reaching families
Provided Bags to Families
- Available in Spanish and English, including a 2T shirt or baby blanket, 1 board book, 1 bilingual CD, informational notecards of milestones 0-2 and how to promote early literacy at home
- Each librarian gets a sample bag to show people what they are talking about
- Warm handoff of bag; make it as easy as possible to distribute to families: Opening prompt, a research tidbit, info about the campaign, invite to visit the library. Embedded message is that it is more than a bag
- Backpack giveaways at food pantries
- Swing Into Stories (at playgrounds)
An example was given of Baltimore Co. Public Library’s Let’s Talk About campaign. Signage was everywhere, Let’s Talk About the Playground (in the playground), Let’s Talk about the Farm (by the play farm animals). Everything was branded.
What can you do?
1.DOWNLOAD free campaign materials:
2.DISPLAY “Talking is Teaching” posters
3.SHARE tip sheets, mini posters, and/or stickers with families
4.SPREAD the word with other librarians!