Logo for the Literacy Legacy ProjectDetails: Thursday, April 26, 2018 from 6 – 8 p.m. at WSKG, 601 Gates Road, Vestal


Author of Thirty Million Words Dr. Dana Suskind (via Skype)

BT/BOCES Superintendent Allen Buyck

Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo

Broome County Executive Jason Garnar

Professor of Biology Dr. Jennifer Musa

Children’s Reading Connection founder Brigid Hubberman

The Literacy Legacy Project is excited to announce the launch of a new initiative, Talk It Up on Thursday, from 6 to 8 p.m. April 26 at WSKG. Talk It Up is a community read of the book Thirty Million Words: Growing a Child’s Brain by Dana Suskind. This initiative is designed to engage the community in open dialogue on what it takes to ensure that all children in Broome County achieve optimum brain development beginning at birth.

Suskind’s book helps readers understand, through a comprehensive review of various research studies, the critical importance human interactions have on the development of young child’s brain. Eighty five percent of brain development occurs in the first few years of life. During these early years, the words read, spoken or sung to children help build neural pathways that lay the foundation for learning.

The main research study around this work was conducted by Betty Hart and Todd Risley, and showed that children in poverty hear 30 million fewer words by age three than children from working class families. According to research, “follow-up studies showed that these differences in language and interaction experiences have lasting effects on a child’s performance later in life.” (http://www.wvearlychildhood.org/resources/C-13_Handout_1.pdf).

This is why early language experiences are vital. Language experiences – such as talking to a baby and reading a book together – greatly increase the likelihood that every child will reach his or her full potential in learning and life.

Following the launch on April 26, the Literacy Legacy Project will convene a series of book discussions to co-create a strategy that addresses this issue.  We eagerly invite all stake-holders to attend the launch, read Suskind’s book and contribute viable solutions. We hope that reading the book Thirty Million Words, will inspire and empower families, organizations, schools, libraries and institutions – the community – with new knowledge and understanding about the importance of early, frequent and pleasurable language experiences for all children.

This collaborative community initiative was developed by the Children’s Reading Connection and launched in Tompkins County earlier this year.

SUNY Broome’s Center for Civic Engagement created the Literacy Legacy Project to promote, inspire and support a culture of talking and reading to young children as part of everyday life in families and communities. The program will serve as a connector, convener, catalyst and collaborator sharing high-quality resources and models to ensure that all children in Broome County are surrounded by an abundance of language-rich experiences, beginning at birth.  We believe one of the best investments we can make in Broome County is to join together to ensure all children experience the joy and power of loving words through talking, singing, reading and playing every single day.

The Literacy Legacy Project was developed through SUNY Broome’s Douglas C. Garnar Center for Civic Engagement, in partnership with the Children’s Reading Connection.