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Talk Read Sing

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Talk Read Sing

San Mateo County Libraries, Calif.

Education - Children & Adults | 2016 | Top Innovator

Innovation Synopsis


A baby’s brain grows to more 80 percent of its adult size in the first three years. Parents’ talking habits are powerful influencers during this crucial developmental period, and research has shown that children with low-income parents hear roughly 30 million fewer words than more affluent children by the time they turn three. The word gap is the beginning of achievement gap, negatively impacting children’s readiness for kindergarten. Research-based interventions like Talk Read Sing, targeted at parents of children under three can help bridge the word gap and support children’s success in school and life in the long-term.

Key Elements of Innovation

San Mateo County Libraries' Talk Read Sing program supports families with children under 30 months using LENA’s Smarter Happier Baby Curriculum in English or Spanish. Talk Read Sing participants use the “talk pedometers” to track the number of adult words spoken, conversational turns taken, and electronic noise in the home. The data collected drives the families’ personal goals throughout the program. We’ve focused on serving low-income families, as well as partnering with the San Mateo County Housing Authority and Institute for Human and Social Development to serve their clients.

Achieved Outcomes

San Mateo County Libraries have implemented Talk Read Sing in English and Spanish, reaching a total of 95 families since May 2015. Results for the families in the first two cohorts of Talk Read Sing are significant, with 74 percent of families showing gains in adult words spoken to the child, and 60 percent of families showing gains in conversational turns. We are excited about continuing to bring this meaningful program to families and children in our communities.