Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing

From Mayor Betsy Hodges

We can make our Minneapolis kids even smarter.

What do we have to do? Talk, read, and sing to our children. Learning begins at birth. And children in lower-income families hear up to 30 million fewer words during their early development than children in higher-income families.

This campaign is designed to make sure everyone knows how important it is to talk, read, and sing to children. We've learned that once parents, caregivers, and others know how important it is, they will do what they can - talk, read, and sing. Those interactions don't cost anything, but they pay huge dividends and prepare our children for a brighter future.

Talking is Teaching bubble

What we can do is highlight how important and easy this is, help increase access to books, and provide the prompts that encourage us all to talk, read, and sing. We held an event at People Serving People, surrounded by many community partners participating in this campaign. We had one of our city buses encouraging everyone to talk with children about the things you do every day - things as simple as waiting for and riding the bus. We were very fortunate to have PBS stars Peg + Cat visit with children, and I read kids a Peg + Cat book at People Serving People's playground. Thank you to all of our partners, especially Too Small to Fail - we are looking forward to continuing this work together!


Cabinet members and partners

Cradle to K Cabinet Members

Cabinet members 2015-2016 (PDF)


Partner commitments to very small children (PDF)




Talking is Teaching Peg and Cat


Share your photos

  1. Talk, ready, sing to your baby every day.
  2. Snap a photo of video to capture the moment.
  3. Share using #iTalkReadSing

Talking is Teaching: Talk

Staff and babies at New Horizon in Minneapolis show how easy it is to talk, read, and sing to young children.


Talking is Teaching PSA

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges joins PBS characters Peg + Cat, explaining why it’s important to talk, read, and sing to young children.

Introducing Talking is Teaching in Minneapolis

Kara Dukakis, Senior VP of the Opportunity Institute and Director of Too Small to Fail, introduces the Minneapolis Talking is Teaching campaign.


Watch this video that demonstrates how reading helped one NASA engineer get his start.

 Amazing is ...


"From the moment they're born" video

A baby’s brain is developing at fantastic speeds. Parents can fuel this growth by talking, reading, and singing right from birth.

"If we don't" video

The fewer words babies hear, the smaller their vocabularies, and the greater their chances of dropping out of school. Get ideas on how to talk, read, and sing with your infant right from the start.

Additional resources

Talking is teaching_FamilyGuide

Talking is Teaching Family Guide (PDF available in English and Spanish)

Talking is teaching_Storybook

Talking is Teaching Storybook (PDF available in English and Spanish )

Talking is teaching_ToddlerTips

Tips for Infants & Toddlers (PDF)


Let's Talk About the Bus Poster (PDF)


Learn more 



Twitter @2SmalltoFail 






Last updated Nov 4, 2016



Contact us

Email updates

Find a service

About this site

For employees

For reasonable accommodations or alternative formats, contact 311.
People who are deaf or hard of hearing can use a relay service to call 311 at 612-673-3000.
TTY users can call 612-673-2157 or 612-673-2626.

Para asistencia 612-673-2700, Yog xav tau kev pab, hu 612-637-2800, Hadii aad Caawimaad u baahantahay 612-673-3500. 


311 call center

TTY relay service


facebook25x25 twitter25x25 youtube25x25 Minneapolis311icon logo tv 14 footer icon image linkedin_32x32