CHICAGO – The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), announces the release of the new Babies Need Words Every Day materials. These shareable resources were designed to help bridge the 30 Million Word Gap by providing parents with proven ways to build their children’s literacy skills. Research shows children from low-income households hear 30 million fewer words than children of higher-income homes; this leads to a persistent gap in language development that impacts school readiness and future educational success.
Babies Need Words Every Day resources include eight visually appealing posters that deliver simple, effective rhymes, games and other suggestions for immediate, enriching ways to communicate with babies. These free posters are available in English and Spanish, and are ideal for posting above changing tables in child care centers, in doctors’ waiting rooms and anywhere else where children and their caregivers have a moment to talk, read, sing and play. ALSC also provides a book list that suggests some books for parents to request at their local library. Librarians should encourage their community partners to download and display these free printable resources.
The Babies Need Words Every Day initiative, created by the ALSC Early Childhood Programs and Services Committee, provides essential support for lifelong learning to diverse families. ALSC is committed to raising awareness around this issue leveraging the role public libraries play in fostering educational success.
The Association for Library Service to Children is the world's largest organization dedicated to the support and enhancement of library service to children. ALSC's network includes more than 4,000 children's and youth librarians, children's literature experts, publishers, education and library school faculty members, and other adults dedicated to creating a better future for children through libraries.
About the 30 Million Word Gap
The term “word gap” refers to research showing that children from low-income families have heard 30 million less words by the age of three than children from higher income families. The study, published by professors Betty Hart and Todd R. Risley has become the cornerstone of many efforts to increase public awareness of the importance of allowing children to hear more words by talking, reading, singing and playing with them daily.