Providence Talks: This Nonprofit Is Giving Children a Start in Life

Article Summary:

Rhode Island’s Providence Talks program is a project that aims to help children ages 0-3 to get a head start on language development. Research in early childhood indicates that the more words children hear and the more engaged they are in conversation with their caretaker, the more they improve their school readiness. Providence Talks encourages “enhanced conversation,” where parents are asked to use complete sentences and elaborate using descriptive words when communicating with their child. The program is using LENA devices to further reinforce these concepts, giving parents measurable data for how they communicate. By tracking words like a “talk pedometer,” counting conversational turns, and other important factors in communication, LENA is able to provide data reports to parents. Providence Talks hopes to give children from less affluent families the resources to develop their language abilities and vocabulary before they begin school.