The Indiana State Library is working with the Midwest Collaborative for Library Services and pilot libraries in Michigan to launch a new program called TALK – an acronym for Text and Learn for Kindergarten – for Indiana parents and caregivers. TALK promotes early literacy and kindergarten readiness through fun activities texted to parents each month. TALK has been developed using grant funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Although this program started in Michigan with Indiana coming on board recently, the hope is that this program could be replicated in states across the nation.
TALK sends texts with fun activities parents can do with their babies, toddlers and preschoolers to make any time learning time. The program was developed by librarians and is based on the already well established Every Child Ready to Read program which encourages parents to read, write, sing, talk and play with their children every day. TALK activities are designed to prepare kids, ages up to 5, for school success.
After signing up for TALK, the parent will receive up to 8-10 text messages per month with entertaining activities they can do at home with their child. TALK activities increase back and forth parent and child conversations. Research shows that when parents and caregivers talk and listen to young children, they develop cognitive and language skills they will need to succeed in school. Parents may sign up for messages in English or Spanish. The activities are then geared for their child’s developmental level and age. To see example texts for babies, toddlers and preschoolers, click here.
Public libraries can sign up as well to promote the TALK program in their communities with promotional toolkits provided for their use. Libraries who sign up can send texts about library events such as story times to parents.
The Indiana State Library will be hosting an informational webinar on Wednesday, Jan. 18, titled “Launching TALK in Your Community,” for Indiana public libraries interested in signing up for the program. The webinar will show how to use the online toolkits to access promotional materials and give tips on how to reach parents who aren’t regular library users. There will also be a demonstration of the TALK portal used to send text messages about upcoming library events. Libraries interested in learning more may register here. For more information about the TALK program, visit here. You may also contact Beth Yates, children’s consultant, or Kara Cleveland, Professional Development Office supervisor – both of the Indiana State Library – with any questions.
This blog post was submitted by Kara Cleveland, Professional Development Office supervisor at the Indiana State Library.