BTCF Blog | Talking is Teaching Initiative Aims to Boost Early Li

BTCF Blog

Talking is Teaching Initiative Aims to Boost Early Literacy in Columbia County

By Darryl Gangloff / January 17, 2020 / Educational Attainment
Talking is Teaching Initiative Aims to Boost Early Literacy in Columbia County

The first years of life are the most critical for learning and development. We are proud to provide funding for the newly launched Talking is Teaching initiative in Columbia County, which aims to help children of all backgrounds achieve academically and emotionally.

This public awareness and action campaign provides parents and caregivers with the tools to talk, read and sing more with young children from birth to age 5. Everyday moments—on the bus, at the doctor’s office, at the library—can boost early literacy and encourage lifelong learning.

These meaningful interactions can better prepare young children for school. Participation in preschool in Columbia County sits at about 50 percent, below the state average. In Hudson, one study showed that kindergarten readiness was at 57 percent.

“By acting together now during these crucial early years, we can create pathways to success for our kids,” BTCF President Peter Taylor said at the campaign's recent launch event. [Read the Register-Star’s article and editorial on the launch.]

Talking is Teaching is a program of Too Small to Fail, the early childhood initiative of the Clinton Foundation. Columbia County joins the national campaign, which provides materials like books, tote bags and tips sheets for families in nearly 30 communities from Los Angeles to Portland. High-quality posters and advertisements reinforce the importance of talking, reading and singing.

Columbia Opportunities and Greater Hudson Promise Neighborhood lead this local effort as part of the Early Literacy and Learning Network. Berkshire Taconic helped launch the network of nonprofit, education and government leaders in 2017 to ensure that more children in Columbia County reach their potential.

Local businesses, leaders, educators, nonprofits, libraries, home visitors and health care providers are instrumental stakeholders in the Talking is Teaching initiative. As trusted messengers, they can support parents and caregivers in their critical role as their children’s first teachers. To kick off the launch event, these community partners distributed more than 500 books throughout the county. Every month or two, families will get new books with tips on how to share them with children.

Newly elected Hudson Mayor Kamal Johnson, pictured above, is the former co-director of Greater Hudson Promise Neighborhood. He has been involved with the Talking is Teaching campaign in Columbia County since its inception, and he emphasized that even the smallest interactions can have a major impact on young children.

“It’s a culture change,” Johnson said. “Learning starts at home, not when kids get to school.”

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