Cheryl Boe, Bridgette Bornstein, Kim Brown, John Harrison and Vaman Pai
Communications Department

Principal Policy Aide Angela Watts in the Mayor’s Office nominated the team for developing a communications plan and various strategies that led to the successful implementation of the campaign Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing:

“The Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing campaign was launched in June, and it is a continuing citywide effort to eliminate language disparities among very young children in Minneapolis. The campaign is a key component of the Cradle to K Cabinet led by Mayor Betsy Hodges and it is also a component of the City’s goal to ensure that children in Minneapolis are kindergarten ready and reading proficiently by the time they enter the third grade.

“Armed with a goal to get parents and caregivers to talk, read and sing to their children every day, the City's Communications Department team developed innovative communication strategies and tools in collaboration with national and local partners, including the Clinton Foundation, the Opportunity Institute, the Fred Rogers Show and Twin Cities Public Television to generate awareness among parents , caregivers and the community to promote the fact that learning begins at birth and that 85 percent of brain development occurs by age three. Simple actions like talking, reading and singing help promote healthy brain development and emerging language development in very young children. The campaign highlighted (and continues to promote) the fact that small efforts, done daily and weekly, add up to enormous lifetime educational benefits for our youngest residents.

“They say ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’ It also takes collaborative efforts, across departments and with external community partners, to execute an effective integrated media campaign that reaches across the City of Minneapolis and sets the national bar high. Doing just this, the Communications team developed specific campaign tools that have, to date, included two videos, a Facebook page, a website landing page, Metro Transit bus ads and citywide billboard ads.

“Launched with a June press conference at Way to Grow featuring Mayor Hodges and the PBS Kids characters Peg + Cat, the videos have been shown on Comcast during key time slots to residents of Minneapolis and they have been placed on Facebook and the homepage of the City's website. Metro Transit placed Let’s Talk About the Bus ads on city buses throughout Minneapolis as a call to action to parents. Over 70 percent of the riders of Metro Transit are parents and this was an effective strategy for engaging parents. The ads alone will generate over 10 million views while they are in circulation. The billboard ads have been strategically placed throughout the City of Minneapolis and at Target Field to remind parents and caregivers to talk, read, and sing to their children at every opportunity.

“It should be noted that the Communications team accomplished this campaign with very limited financial and staff resources, and their efforts were able to leverage significant amounts of in-kind contributions through Comcast and other community partners.

“The campaign has been highlighted by the Clinton Foundation and the communication team deserves to be recognized by the City of Minneapolis for their innovative approach to engaging parents and caregivers through videos, website content and social media strategies that are not only informative and engaging, but fun for children as well.

“Watch the campaign videos:

“Visit the Talking is Teaching Facebook page and webpage.”

Published Nov 1, 2016



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