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Close the Word Gap Today – Tomorrow Is Too Late

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Nourishing a baby’s mind during the first four years of life is as essential as feeding his or her body. New scientific research confirms that what happens to a baby’s brain in her first few years shapes her academic performance in school, the success she achieves, the adult she becomes, and the contributions she makes to our economy and society. Studies have found that by age four, babies in middle and upper class families hear 15 million more words than babies in working class families, and 30 million more words than babies in lower economic class families. Among those babies born in 2001, only 48% of babies from  low-income families started school ready to learn compared to 75% of babies from middle-income families.

It is critical that we start to close the 30 million word gap today and demand that:

1.     President Obama launch a “30 Million Word Gap Challenge” that involve colleges, universities, businesses, communities, pediatricians and child care providers in helping recruit volunteers, educate parents and provide home visitors to help close the word gap with newborns to four-year olds;

2.     President Obama and Congress pass the “Close the Word Gap Act” to ensure that all babies born today will have the chance to perform just as well academically in the next 18 years as their peers from high-income families. The Act would make it possible for colleges to permit Work Study students or paraprofessionals to work directly with parents and their babies in their own communities on a local and national level.

3.     The Department of Education and the Department of Health & Human Services immediately begin to empower parents and caregivers with the latest information, with immediate concrete actions for parents as well as resources in order to improve their babies and toddlers vocabulary so it may result in long term success. Both departments will arm parents who are currently in the prenatal care stage with the information immediately.

“Educating others has been my profession for the past 9 years. It is my desire to help students develop the skills needed to succeed in today’s world. In addition to being an Educator, I am also a mother who believes a child is only as strong as her village. This initiative unifies the core groups involved in a child’s development; the parent, the child, the teacher, and the community. Closing the word gap is the key to a child’s educational success. Help us close the word gap today.” ~Karen V. Johnson M.Ed

As a mother, lawyer and founder of Smart Coos, I understand that the tools that a baby is given at birth has the power to change the entire course of her life, her community and the world. So please join Karen and I in asking the President and the members of Congress to close the word gap today. Our children’s and nations future depends on it.



Mirta Desir, Esq.                                                                                                       Founder of Smart Coos



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