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The Thirty Million Word Project

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By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Twenty-five mothers from low income households are participating in the first trial of the Thirty Million Words Project, named after a research finding that a child born into poverty hears 30 million fewer words by age 3 than a child born affluent. The intent is to help parents get involved in meaningful conversation from the day children are born.

Working on the South Side of Chicago, parents were trained in a parent-talk curriculum for twelve weeks and every week the participating children spend a day wearing a device recording the number of words spoken and the “turns” in a conversation, the back and forth of talk.

After each home visit, the parents with the visitor review the exchange on a laptop and recommendations are given. Topics have included how to encourage kids and how to go on a television “diet.”

While results haven’t been published yet, parents’ data shows dramatic increases in conversation.

Read more in Slate.