New program in Hudson, to get young kids reading


Columbia County Early Literacy and Learning Network launches “Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing” Campaign for parents and caregivers

[Hudson, NY]- Today, local business and community leaders, led by Columbia Opportunities, Inc. and Greater Hudson Promise Neighborhood’s Early Literacy and Learning Network announced their participation in a national campaign to boost the early learning and brain development of children from birth through age five. The “Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing” campaign is part of Too Small to Fail, the early childhood initiative of the Clinton Foundation. The Early Literacy and Learning Network is funded through a grant from Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation.

“Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing” aims to give parents and caregivers the tools to talk, read and sing more with their young children from birth, increasing meaningful interactions that are critical to healthy brain and language development. According to a study conducted by the National Center for Education Statisticsi, almost 60 percent of American children start kindergarten unprepared, lagging behind their peers in critical language, math and social-emotional skills. Research shows that during the first years of life a child’s brain forms one million new neural connections every second and absorbs information like a sponge. This is why simple, everyday interactions with young children- like describing objects seen during a walk or car ride, singing songs, or telling stories- can better prepare them for school, and lay a strong foundation for their social-emotional development, health, and lifelong learning.

The Talking is Teaching campaign is partnering with trusted messengers in the community, like child care providers, librarians, home visitors and more, to share information with parents and caregivers about the critical role they play in their child’s early brain development. These community partners will distribute language-rich Talking is Teaching materials- including books and clothing with prompts that encourage parents to talk, read, and sing with their children- directly to families.

Talking is Teaching also aims to transform everyday places where families spend time into language-rich environments. Laundromats, barber shops and waiting rooms around the county will display Talking is Teaching posters and creative materials that encourage families to talk, read and sing while they engage in everyday activities. A community-wide, multi-media campaign will reinforce these messages through billboards and posters in local community organizations and agencies.

For more information, visit www.talkingisteaching.org. For more information about the local campaign contact Sophie Becker, Early Literacy and Learning Network Director, Columbia Opportunities, Inc., sbecker@columbiaopportunities.org or (518) 828-8951 or visit us on Facebook @earlychildhoodliteracy.

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About the Early Literacy and Learning Network

To ensure that more children in Columbia County reach their potential, Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation helped launch the Early Literacy and Learning Network in 2017. This partnership of nonprofit, education and government leaders is supporting parents through education and services, helping organizations collaborate and gain capacity to meet demand, and driving a countywide effort to communicate the urgency of early literacy. The ELLN has been awarded a total of $358,000 in grants in its first three years.

About Columbia Opportunities, Inc.

Columbia Opportunities is the private not-for-profit Community Action Agency serving the residents of Columbia County, NY. Established in 1978, with a mission to help solve poverty related problems in the community, Columbia Opportunities offers advocacy, early childhood and adult education, employment supports, housing and energy services, emergency assistance and support to families and individuals of all ages throughout Columbia County.

About Greater Hudson Promise Neighborhood

The Greater Hudson Promise Neighborhood believes in the Theory of Change; if educational and community support are continuous from before birth through college to career, then children will successfully break through the intergenerational cycle of poverty and reach their full potential. By utilizing the strengths-based perspective and valuing the dignity and worth of every person, GHPN is able to focus on building the community of the Hudson City School District to ensure that children and families are given adequate opportunities to thrive from cradle to college to career.

About Too Small to Fail

Too Small to Fail, the early childhood initiative of the Clinton Foundation, promotes the importance of early brain and language development by supporting parents and caregivers with tools to talk, read, and sing with their young children from birth. Today, almost 60 percent of children in the United States start kindergarten unprepared, lagging behind their peers in critical language and reading skills. Through partnerships with pediatricians, hospitals, faith-based leaders, community-based organizations, businesses, entertainment industry leaders, and others, Too Small to Fail is meeting parents where they are to help them prepare their children for success in school and beyond. Whether at the pediatrician’s office or the playground, Too Small to Fail aims to make small moments big by creating opportunities for meaningful interactions anytime, anywhere. Visit us at https://www.toosmall.org.

The Clinton Foundation improves lives across the United States and around the world by creating economic opportunity, improving public health, and inspiring civic engagement and service.