Build vocabulary and support language development


Whether you are reading your child a book at bedtime or pointing out signs while you and your child are in the car together, every word you speak helps build vocabulary and support language development. Unfortunately, in our country, many of the families who work hardest just to make financial ends meet may also struggle the most to help their children grow as readers.

This challenge is known as Word Gap, the difference in language exposure for children from different backgrounds. This week I was proud to represent KinderCare Learning Centers® to discuss strategies to address this subject at the White House, where I joined national experts for a workshop on federal, state and local efforts to bridge the word gap.

With a select group of leaders from the public and the private sector including the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Department of Education, Too Small to Fail, and the Urban Institute, we shared best practices to spur communities across the country into action to help children whose limited language exposure at an early age hampers their ability to succeed in school and later life.

In the United States, children growing up in professional homes hear over three times as many words as children from lower income families. By the age of three that equates to a child from a more advantaged home having heard 30 million more words than a child from a lower income family, making them better able to grasp the fundamentals of reading and better prepared to enter school. We know all parents want the best for their children, and so do we at KinderCare. That’s why we expose all children to a language-rich environment each day through reading, speaking, and creating a print-rich environment. We also offer parents seasonal reading guides, and we donate books to families and local and national agencies to help ensure that children have more access to books and unlock their potential.

At the White House workshop we discussed cutting-edge research on effective interventions as well as innovative state and local efforts to close the word gap. Working together, this challenge is something that we can address and solve, but only if parents, early learning professionals, and federal, state, and local agencies work together to address.

Bridging the word gap and ensuring that all children benefit from a language rich environment is part of the KinderCare mission–to serve all children and provide them with a strong foundation for success in school and in life as readers, writers and learners.

Each time you read to your baby, teach your toddler a new word, or help your child recognize the letters of his or her name, you are helping set your child on a path to future success. So when you put your child to bed each night think about the simple things you did during the day to help your child learn and grow. We at KinderCare are committed to helping your child every day by being the best partner for you and your family in preparing children for school and for the rest of their lives.