Alaskans Making their Words Count this April
Families across Alaska are part of a widespread effort this month to focus on how daily interactions with their children can help prepare them for success in life.
Building on increased media coverage of “the 30-million word gap,” a landmark study which found that by age three, children in higher-income families had heard 30 million more words than children in low-income families, Alaska nonprofit Best Beginnings decided to focus attention and resources on helping families close the gap.
“You can’t close the gap by hurling words at children or sitting them in front of a television. What counts is verbal interaction—talking, singing, reading and playing with young children. That’s why we created Words Count and are concentrating our efforts this April to help families find easy and meaningful ways to connect,” said Best Beginnings Executive Director Abbe Hensley.
Words Count was launched to encourage parents to talk, sing, read, and play with their young children every day. “The more words children are exposed to in their first few years, the better they fare in school and in life,” Hensley added.
To that end, a series of Words Count events and activities, as well as related partnerships, will be organized and promoted throughout the state this month, including: statewide airing of Words Count videos online and in movie theatres; daily social media outreach with tips, activities and resources; a photo and story contest encouraging families to share how words count in their homes; and other downloadable items including conversation starters at BestBeginningsAlaska.org.These activities coincide with other important statewide observances. April is National Child
Abuse Prevention Month and April 6 through 12 is the Week of the Young Child. Working with local partners on activities centered around these happenings, Words Count will also have links to related events and resources.
To learn more and get involved, families should visit BestBeginningsAlaska.org and Facebook.com/Best Beginnings.
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Best Beginnings is a public-private partnership mobilizing people and resources to ensure all Alaska children begin school ready to succeed.
Best Beginnings press release