“Talk, Read, Sing”: Hillary Clinton Launches Reading Campaign for Oakland's Low Income Children

President Barack Obama isn't the only one making news in the Bay Area.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was also in town Wednesday to roll out a new community partnership aimed at bridging the reading gap in children.

Clinton helped launched the "Talking is Teaching, Talk Read Sing" campaign at the UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital in Oakland which encourages parents and caregivers to tackle the achievement gap by talking, reading and singing to kids from low-income families.

The campaign -- created in partnership with Too Small to Fail, a joint initiative of San Francisco-based Next Generation and the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation -- focuses on the "word gap" -- a difference of about 30 million words between children from the wealthiest and poorest families.

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and his wife Lynn are also supporting the campaign.

Ultimately, the campaign wants to help combat the achievement gap in schools, which is seen through preschool and kindergarten.

A March 2014 survey of low-income parents shows only 40 percent reported telling a story to their child.

Clinton underlined the importance of early learning in very young children, whose brains develop around 80 percent of their capacity by age 3. She said she remembered reading and singing to Chelsea.

"Playing electronic games does not substitute for daily interactions with kids in their first few years," Clinton said.

Local parents talked to Clinton about the importance of talking, reading and singing every day.

"Fifteen minutes a day makes a huge difference," Clinton said.

As part of the campaign, parents will leave the hospital with toolkits from Sesame Street, online resources and new clothes for babies from Oaklandish.

Clinton was in Silicon Valley Monday to promote her new memoir "Hard Choices," holding a virtual  Q&A session on Twitter and Facebook.

For more information on the program visit the "Too Small to Fail" Facebook page.

Contact Us