Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Help bridge the word gap for low-income children

The Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) of the Health Resources and Services Administration would like to inform you about an exciting prize competition: the Bridging the Word Gap Challenge.

Children from low-income families are exposed to 30 million fewer words than their higher-income peers before the age of three. This is known as the “word gap,” a major issue facing our nation today. This gap in parent/caregiver talk is associated with later disparities in school readiness and academic achievement. Children who lag behind their peers early in life are much more likely to have worse outcomes in education, earnings, and family stability as they grow into adulthood. By as early as 18 months of age, toddlers from disadvantaged families are already several months behind more advantaged children in language proficiency, and these gaps widen, rather than diminish, over the early elementary years. In fact, children’s academic successes at ages nine and 10 can be linked to the amount of talk they hear from birth through age three.

To spur innovative solutions to address the word gap, MCHB is inviting you to develop a technologically-based intervention that drives parents and caregivers to talk and engage in more back-and-forth interactions with their young children (ages 0-4). The innovative solution will promote the early language environment and address the word gap issue.

What’s at stake? Prizes of up to $300,000! In addition to cash prizes, participants will receive mentoring and matching opportunites for Phases 2 and 3 of the competition.

The first phase of the Challenge opens on Friday, Nov. 6. 


For more information and to register, go to www.wordgapchallenge.hrsa.gov.
Twitter: @HRSAgov, hashtag #BWGChallenge 

Listen: President Obama's message below

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