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Talking is Teaching


“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 five.

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 an official Talking is Teaching community by Too Small to Fail, a national initiative of the Clinton Foundation. Talking is Teaching is supported with a grant from United Way of Greater Portland in support of Thrive2027 Goal 1. 


Building upon the success of a local Talking is Teaching pilot in 2017, Starting Strong expanded the 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. In 2019, Starting Strong began expanding the campaign to include Westbrook and South Portland, as well as Portland, Maine. This year, we will distribute 750 free Talking is Teaching kits with a food theme. The kits include several items, including books and prompts, to remind 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, print advertising, and public relations. Check out our Facebook Page for more about Portland’s Talking is Teaching work.  A public event is being planned in April 2020 as part of the Week of the Young Child.

Thanks to our partners who are participating in the Talking is Teaching Campaign:

Catherine Morrill Day Nursery
Chestnut St. Family Shelter, City of Portland
Children’s Odyssey
Children’s Museum and Theater of Maine
Early Head Start, The Opportunity Alliance
General Assistance, City of Portland
Greater Portland Health
In Her Presence
Maine Families, The Opportunity Alliance
Northeast Hearing and Speech
Portland Public Health
Portland Public Library
St. Elizabeth’s Child Development Center
Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program, The Opportunity Alliance
Youth and Family Outreach

*Special thanks to Tom’s of Maine for donating baby lotion and sunscreen to include in the free Talking is Teaching kits.


For more information on how to get involved contact Justin Purvis at jpurvis@portlandconnected.org