Say & Play With Words | NCFL’s Detroit Vocabulary Initiative

say and play

Say & Play with Words (Hablen y Jueguen con Palabras) is NCFL’s newest collaborative effort to teach vocabulary in a real-world, active context through family service learning and community outreach in Detroit neighborhoods.

Research shows that a lag in vocabulary development puts children at an academic disadvantage before they even start kindergarten; Say & Play with Words is designed to increase the vocabulary and literacy levels of young children, establish the importance of and improve parent skills in supporting their children’s vocabulary development, and create word- and print- rich environments in Brightmoor and Southwest Detroit.

“We know talking to our children is one of the most effective ways to help them develop their vocabulary and close the ‘word gap,’” notes Sharon Darling. “Our long term vision is that young children and families in Detroit are part of a rich tapestry of words and literacy – one that propels them toward their dreams and that prepares them to achieve whatever they desire.”

Say & Play with Words is a $1.5 million, two-year, multi-language initiative supported by the PNC, Skillman and Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundations to reach 150 parents and 413 young children through direct intervention (family service learning) and close to 2,250 parents (with 6,500 children) through additional outreach.

The program focuses on supporting parent/caregiver interaction because we know talking to children is the most effective way to help build vocabulary.

“We have to make sure that all children and families are supported in this,” Darling said. “We know successful family literacy and learning harnesses the strength of parent-child bonds to help those who are most at risk of failing economically, emotionally, and socially.”

NCFL has worked with Detroit-based partners to improve academic and life outcome for children since 2003.

“We look forward to continuing to work in partnership with Southwest Counseling Solutions, Congress of Communities, Brightmoor Alliance, and Development Centers to create a culture of words and Say & Play with Words resources and programming will turn the requirement of education into an exciting journey for children and their families.”