Let's Talk…It Makes a Difference!

A Good Idea


The goal of the Let’s Talk Campaign is to improve the quantity and quality of conversations taking place between young children and their parents. Increased communication has two benefits. First, it helps children develop large vocabularies and good background knowledge – strong predictors of academic success. In addition, literacy is strong predictor of health outcomes. Second, parents who communicate care and acceptance to their children are providing supportive parenting. Children who experience supportive parenting report fewer physical and psychological symptoms during childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and even old age.

Goal / Mission

The objectives of the campaign are (1) to educate parents about the importance of talking with their children and (2) to model techniques parents can use to have rich and elaborate conversations with their children.

Results / Accomplishments

The Let’s Talk Campaign targets 16 percent of families with children (age 5 or younger) who live in public housing. The short-term outcome of the campaign is that parents gain the knowledge and motivation to improve the content of conversations with their children. The intermediate outcomes are that parents learn techniques that generate more complex conversations, even on difficult topics. such as children’s rights versus parents’ rights. Long-term outcomes concern both literacy development and health. The literacy outcome is that children will have a larger vocabulary and more background knowledge. The health outcome is that supportive parenting will help children develop the psychosocial resources associated with good health outcomes throughout life.

About this Promising Practice

Primary Contact
Lei-Anne Ellis, Literacy Coordinator
119 Windsor Street, Ground Level
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 665-3827
Health / Children's Health
Social Environment / Family Structure
Education / Literacy
Cambridge Public Health Department
National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO)
Date of publication
Cambridge, MA
For more details
Target Audience

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