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Birmingham Talks

1M Investment in Early Literacy Initiatives for Birmingham Talks

The City of Birmingham has announced plans to invest $1M in early literacy initiatives executed by Birmingham Talks. This is the single largest municipally funded early childhood investment in the history of the City of Birmingham. Birmingham Talks improves kindergarten readiness by increasing interactive conversation between children and their caregivers through the use of a small digital device (a “word pedometer”) that counts the number of words children hear each day.


Funding from the City of Birmingham will help scale Birmingham Talks’ programs over the next three years and ensure that more families and childcare centers have access to award-winning curriculum, innovative technology, and personalized coaching. “Children in Birmingham deserve the very best from the very beginning,” said Ruth Ann Moss, Executive Director of Birmingham Talks. “We’re honored to work with the City to expand access to high-quality early learning services in all ninety-nine neighborhoods—and make Birmingham the best city in the country to raise a child under five.”


Ninety-two percent of children who participate in Birmingham Talks start off hearing less than the 21,000 words a day researchers estimate are needed for optimal brain development. However, data shows that children who started the program in lower-talk environments increased the amount of conversation they were exposed to by approximately 50% over the course of twelve weeks.

Funding from the City of Birmingham will cover approximately a quarter of the costs associated with program expansion. Other vital supporters of Birmingham Talks include the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education, the Altec/Styslinger Foundation, the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, the Mike & Gillian Goodrich Foundation, and a variety of other committed local and national funders. “This is an investment in children and families,” said Galvin Billups, Executive Director of the City of Birmingham’s Department of Youth Services. “And it’s also an investment in the future prosperity of our city. Birmingham is committed to ensuring our youngest citizens are able to realize their fullest potential.”

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