Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing – One State’s Campaign


As early childhood educators, we understand the value of talking, reading and singing to young children to develop their vocabularies, a precursor to future success in school.  SECA strives to share information from states that may serve as models for your state in developing programs for young children.  Our thanks go to the Arkansas Campaign for Grade-Level Reading for submitting the following article about their new statewide campaign.

 About the Campaign
 The Arkansas Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (AR-GLR), AETN and local partners recently launched a new campaign to boost the early brain development and language skills of children in Little Rock from birth through age five.

The campaign, titled “Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing,” is working with two Little Rock School District pre-K programs, the Arkansas Home Visiting Network and Arkansas Department of Health, WIC to share resources and tools to help parents and caregivers boost young children’s vocabulary, improve school readiness and put more Arkansas kids on the path to reading on grade-level by the end of third grade.

Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing aims to motivate parents and caregivers to talknov-resource-kit,  read and sing more frequently with their young children from birth. More than half of Arkansas children start kindergarten unprepared, lagging behind their peers in critical language, math and social-emotional skills. Research shows that simple, everyday interactions with young children – like describing objects seen during a walk or bus ride, singing songs or telling stories – can build their vocabularies, prepare them for school and lay a strong foundation for lifelong learning.

“We’re empowering parents with the tools they need for their kids to succeed,” Kara Dukakis, the director of Too Small to Fail, said at a launch event at Little Rock’s Bale Elementary School Tuesday, November 16, 2016.   “Our goal is to integrate the campaign into the local early childhood infrastructure,” Dukakis said.

The Talking is Teaching campaign is partnering with trusted messengers, like pre-school teachers, child care providers, home visitors, and WIC nutritionists 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 Talking is Teaching materials—including books, clothing, magnets and bags with prompts that encourage parents to talk, read and sing with their children—directly to families. The partners will also provide subscriptions for parents to ReadyRosie, an educational tool that has hundreds of brief videos in English and Spanish that model everyday interactions in familiar environments with real parents.

nov-youtube-chnTalking is Teaching also aims to transform everyday places where families spend time together into language-rich environments. Laundromats, grocery store chains and churches around the community will display Talking is Teaching posters that encourage families to talk, read and sing while they engage in everyday activities. A community-wide multimedia campaign, including billboards, bus signs and an AETN public service announcement, will reinforce these messages.
“Our goal is that every child in Arkansas can read on grade level by the end of third grade,” Angela Duran, AR-GLR campaign director, said. “This is the foundation for success in middle and high school and further in college and in careers.”   Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing is funded by the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation.

For more information on the campaign contact Angela Duran, Campaign Director, Arkansas Campaign for Grade-Level Reading,  ?  870-692-3176

Many of the resources mentioned in the article are available for download at or  The parent bags of materials will only be available in Arkansas.

Let Us Hear From You/Post a Comment

  • Has your state or organization developed a similar campaign? If so, tell us how it works.
  • What strategies have you implemented in your program to promote vocabulary development?
  • Can you identify other open source resources that caregivers and parents could access?

4 thoughts on “Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing – One State’s Campaign

  1. As a preschool coordinator in a lab school, my communication with the children is intentional. Asking open ended questions, allowing conversations in a group setting / meal times, periodically pausing to discuss what’s happening in a book while reading, and singing songs to support classroom topics are great for fostering language and vocabulary expansion.

  2. Another way to foster vocabulary expansion and language skills is to resist rushing through books when you read them. Taking the time to give the definitions of words is a must.

  3. I love this campaign. I can remember talking to my first born daughter while I was cooking dinner. I would just describe to her what I was doing…step by step. I always tried to use “grown up” language so that she was hearing a huge variety of words and sounds. I find singing a great distraction to children who are being uncooperative when changing diapers or dressing or putting on shoes, for example. Singing grabs their attention and they forget that they are trying to resist whatever it is you are trying to accomplish.

    Great idea Arkansas. Keep up the good work.

  4. This is an exciting addition to the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, to step ‘back’ so to speak to the youngest children to provide the gift of words. Talking, reading and singing to our littlest children is not only important for them, but also for the adults in their lives to connect and enjoy many good moments as the children grow. A wonderful development for the Campaign which will enable more children to become better readers as they move along in grade school. Kudos to Angela for partnering with the 2 preschools, AR Home VIsitors, and WIC.

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