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Talking is Teaching Campaign


“Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing” is a national public awareness and action campaign that empowers parents and caregivers with fun and easy ways to improve their babies’ learning, from birth to age two.

Using books, parent videos, text messaging, and social media, the campaign prompts parents to take advantage of everyday actions, such as describing things while walking outside or singing songs together during bath time.

In October 2018, Portland, Maine was honored to be named one of only 17 official Talking is Teaching communities in cities around the U.S.

Talking is Teaching is a campaign of Too Small to Fail, a joint initiative of The Opportunity Institute and the Clinton Foundation. Starting Strong is implementing the campaign in Portland, Maine, with support from United Way of Greater Portland.


Building upon the success of a local Talking is Teaching pilot in 2017, Starting Strong expanded their Talking is Teaching campaign in 2018 to engage partners including Early Head Start, Portland Public Health, Portland Public Library, Portland’s Family Shelter, and several local child care facilities to distribute 500 Talking is Teaching kits to families of children from birth through age two. Theme-based kits include several items, such as books and bibs, to help prompt families to use everyday activities as opportunities to talk, read, and sing to their child. Many of these partners will also display posters and distribute other tools and prompts, such as books, flyers, and bookmarks in public spaces.

The campaign also includes a marketing strategy with Talking is Teaching messaging in and on buses, a digital ad campaign, and public relations. A public event is planned in April 2019 as part of the Week of the Young Child, which will feature a city bus with Talking is Teaching messaging, a read-in on the bus, and distribution of travel-themed kits and other resources.