OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stopped by an Oakland hospital Wednesday morning to help announce a new campaign to educate low-income children from birth, organizers said.

The “Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing” campaign kicked off at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland Wednesday morning with Clinton and representatives of the Bay Area Council, Children’s Hospital and Kaiser Permanente.

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The Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation is supporting the campaign, intended to close the “word gap,” an apparent difference of 30 million more words that children from high-income families hear before they are four years old compared to low-income families, officials from the Too Small to Fail initiative said.

Too Small to Fail created the Talking is Teaching program with the help of a $3.5 million donation from Marc Benioff, a technology CEO and philanthropist, and his wife Lynne.

The campaign includes messages in Children’s Hospital’s lobby, waiting rooms and exam rooms reminding parents to talk, read and sing to their children.

The hospital will also distribute literature like a Talking is Teaching toolkit produced by Sesame Street and a Text4Baby mobile service for pregnant mothers that will remind them about early brain development.

They will also distribute items from a new clothing line for babies and toddlers developed by the company Oaklandish.

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A broader campaign will include radio and TV advertisements, billboards and bus shelter ads.

Kaiser Permanente will also distribute materials to all new parents of children born at its Oakland hospital and all children during well-baby visits.

Too Small to Fail said a survey conducted of low-income parents, grandparents and caregivers of low-income children in Oakland indicated 43 percent of them told a story to their child daily, 49 percent sang to their child daily, and 42 percent played a non-electronic game and 52 percent read a book each day.

Talking, singing and reading to very young children can have a huge impact on their developing minds, which will reach 80 percent of their capacity by the time they are three years old, according to the organization.


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