By three years of age, a child’s brain is 85% developed. Parents, caregivers, and communities have an opportunity in the early years of a child’s life to affect brain growth through positive speech and experiences. There is a 30 million word gap between children from professional families and those children who come from families at or below the poverty level. Focusing on the power of words gives Greater Cleveland’s youngest brains the foundation for academic success.

#WordGapCLE is an awareness campaign to reach adults with the message that the words and language they use with a young baby/child make a significant impact on a child’s development. We work with community partners to share this message using posters and collateral materials.



(adapted from Thirty Million Words:
Building A Child’s Brain):

TUNE IN: Notice what your child is focused on and talk about it. Respond when a child tries to talk or make sounds – including when a baby cries or coos.

TALK MORE: Explain day to day routines, such as diaper changes and tooth brushing. Use details:  “Let Mommy take off your diaper. Oh, so wet. And smell it. So stinky!”

TAKE TURNS: Keep the chat going. Respond to your child’s sounds, gestures and words – and give them time to reply to you. Ask lots of questions that require more than yes or no answers.

TURN OFF: Reduce the amount of screen time your child receives. Replace it with talking, singing, or reading.

Other tips:

  • Positive, supportive talk. Use positive words and a pleasant tone. “You are sooo smart!”, “That’s good!”, “You’re right!”, “YESSS!”
  • Read to your child. Even babies benefit. We recommend 20 minutes each day!