All children should benefit from language-rich activities through everyday moments with the adults around them. All we have to do is talk, interact, and engage with children in everyday life conversations to enhance healthy language and brain development. Feed Me Words’ mission is to support the language and literacy development of Alabama’s youngest children by providing the adults in their lives with access to and awareness of early language and literacy resources.
What is early language and literacy, and why is it important?
Research shows that the number of loving words a baby hears in the early years of life is a strong predictor of their ability to read by third grade and their future success. Children who do not learn the necessary language, comprehension and vocabulary skills at an early age often fall so far behind other kids that they can never catch up. The trajectory of these children’s lives can be dramatically changed if they are engaged from birth in environments rich in warm language, conversation, and other brain-building activities. That is why the Alabama Partnership for Children is embarking on a project to unite stakeholders statewide around improving early language development for children birth through age five.
Major funding for this incentive program is provided by the Alabama Department of Human Resources, the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education, and the Alabama Department of Mental Health: and by private funding from Daniel Foundation of Alabama, the Mike and Gillian Goodrich Foundation, and the Protective Life Foundation.
Read Right From the Start on Cox Campus
A key partner in our efforts to promote early literacy in the state of Alabama is the Atlanta Speech School’s Rollins Center for Language & Literacy, which works to bring the School’s 80-year expertise in constructing the reading brain to early childhood educators, parents, and others who interact with young children. With generous partner investments, the Atlanta Speech School has developed Read Right from the Start on the school’s online Cox Campus. Read Right from the Start on Cox Campus synthesizes the work of the nation’s leading literacy experts and provides free, online access to research-based professional development for teachers of children from birth to eight years of age. This interactive, video-based coursework is focused on practical strategies teachers can use to promote young children’s language and literacy.
Read Right From The Start in Alabama Early Care and Education Classrooms
From birth, young children need strong relationships with adults who engage them in conversation and celebrate their use of language. More conversations lead to stronger brain connections, closer relationships, and a solid foundation for language development and all learning, including reading. That is why the Alabama Partnership for Children is partnering with the Rollins Center for Language and Literacy to introduce Read Right From the Start (RRFTS) into Alabama early care and education settings. In multiple areas of the state and through multiple early learning systems, the APC is developing the capacity of mentors/coaches to assist with the implementation of early literacy in all early childhood settings. Early Literacy RRFTS Facilitators are working with multiple child care programs in their areas to support implementation of the RRFTS initiative to include content from the online training (Cox Campus), onsite modeling and coaching, technical assistance, and evaluation of changes made that positively impact young children’s language, cognitive, and social/emotional development.
Find the Read Right From the Start in Alabama Early Care and Education Classrooms Year 1 Evaluation Report here.
Talk With Me Baby
Talk With Me Baby began as a collaboration between the Georgia Department of Public Health and other leadership organizations, all working to bring the concept of language nutrition into public awareness and educate caregivers on the importance of talking with their baby every day; all in an effort to close the word gap. The number of loving words a baby hears in the first three years of life makes a big difference. Watch the video below to see just how important these loving words are to brain development and academic success.
The Alabama Partnership for Children is coordinating this initiative for the state of Alabama. As part of the Talk With Me Baby model, the APC targets the large-scale workforces that already interact with new and expectant parents. This includes nurses, WIC nutritionists, early learning educators, and more. The program prepares employees in these fields to coach families on how and why to provide their babies with the “language nutrition” they need to support early brain development. All parents want to do what is best for their children. Talk With Me Baby is designed to reach parents and caregivers across the state, introducing them to the joys and power of talking with their baby!