The City of Birmingham will invest $1M in early literacy program—learn more about Birmingham Talks

Birmingham Talks
Huge news for Birmingham Talks. (Cary Norton)

This week, the City of Birmingham announced plans to invest $1M in early literacy initiatives executed by Birmingham Talks—an organization that aims to improve kindergarten readiness by increasing interactive conversation between children and their caregivers. Keep reading to learn more about this impactful investment.

What is Birmingham Talks?

Birmingham Talks is a free citywide program that works with children from birth to three years old to help build a lifetime of literacy through the use of a small digital device called a “word pedometer” that counts the number of words children hear each day.

That device, LENA™, is a small, wearable accessory that measures words spoken to babies and provides data to measure adult words heard and conversational turns.

A Birmingham Talks coach reviews the data from the device and meets with participants to explain how to increase the baby’s words heard, tailored to each caregiver’s unique needs.

Why it matters

2022.07.R6.0196 3000px 1 The City of Birmingham will invest $1M in early literacy program—learn more about Birmingham Talks
An investment in the future of Birmingham. (Cary Norton)

According to a news release from the City:

  • 92% of children who participate in Birmingham Talks start off hearing fewer than the 21,000 words a day needed for optimal brain development.
  • Children who started the program in lower-talk environments increased the amount of conversation they were exposed to by approximately 50% over the course of 12 weeks.  

This is the single largest municipally funded early childhood investment in the history of the City of Birmingham.

“This is an investment in children and families. It’s also an investment in the future prosperity of our city. Birmingham is committed to ensuring our youngest citizens are able to realize their fullest potential.”

Galvin Billups, Executive Director, City of Birmingham’s Department of Youth Services

Where is the investment going?

2022.03.R5.0705 3000px The City of Birmingham will invest $1M in early literacy program—learn more about Birmingham Talks
Birmingham Talks looks forward to work with the city. (Cary Norton)

Funding from the City of Birmingham will cover approximately a quarter of the costs associated with program expansion.

“This investment will allow Birmingham Talks to triple the size of our early literacy programs over the next three years. The funding will be used to cover costs associated with scaling, such as curriculum, technology, staffing, and books. Birmingham Talks is honored to work with the city to provide high quality services to young children and families.”

Ruth Ann Moss, Executive Director, Birmingham Talks

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Callie Puryear
Callie Puryear
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