Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Clinton encourages reading in Hispanic families

04 February 2014, 12:25

Washington - Hillary Rodham Clinton is helping initiate a public service campaign encouraging Hispanic families to read, sing and talk more to their young children so they're better prepared for school.

About a quarter of all babies and toddlers in the US are Hispanic, but these kids are half as likely to have family members read to them and a third less likely to have songs sung to them than white, non-Latino children, according to a recent report by the Robert R McCormick Foundation.

The effort is part of the "Too Small to Fail" campaign started last year by the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation and Next Generation, a San Francisco-based non-profit.

A partner in the effort is Univision Communications, a New York-based Spanish language network that will run a series of public service announcements and news programmes with segments focused on the topic.

Clinton was expected to participate in the campaign launch on Tuesday at a bilingual Head Start programme in East Harlem in New York. Clinton, a long-time supporter of early childhood programmes, is a former secretary of state, first lady and senator of New York.

She is considering another White House bid in 2016 and expects to make a decision later this year.

The focus is simple: tackling what's known as the "word gap" by encouraging Hispanic families to focus on these activities for at least 15 minutes daily.

‘Too small to fail’

Research published by the late University of Kansas researchers Betty Hart and Todd Risley in the '90s highlighted the phenomenon in which children in professional families hear an average of 30 million more words by the time they were 4 than children of parents accepting public assistance, and 15 million more words than children from working-class families.

Children with less exposure are more likely to start school behind their peers and not catch up.

Hispanic children are also more likely than their white peers to face other barriers such as poverty, frequent moves and hunger.

About a third of Hispanic children live with parents without a high school degree. Many of these parents don't understand the power of reading, singing and playing with their young children, said Sandra Gutierrez, national programme director of Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors, based in Los Angeles.

Others, particularly immigrants, are reluctant to do educational activities in Spanish because they want their children to learn English, but the enrichment in Spanish would be good for their children, said Delia Pompa, senior vice president for programmes at National Council of La Raza. Both Gutierrez and Pompa serve on the "Too Small to Fail" advisory board.

Pascuala Natalia Leal, aged 25, a mother of three who immigrated from Mexico as a young girl, said she thinks some low-income parents feel inadequate to teach the kids. At the same time, she said, families she knows either can't get their children into a Head Start programme because of long wait lists or they travel long distances each day so their children can participate.

"There's a lot of lack of information for families and parents," said Leal, whose daughter attends the Head Start in East Harlem. She planned to attend the event on Tuesday.

Jose Pagan, aged 35, a father of two born in Puerto Rico, said many parents are just busy working so they can pay for basic necessities, but said: "you have to make time for your child." His child also attends the Head Start programme.

A large percentage of US children don't have access to pre-school. In his State of the Union, President Barack Obama renewed his call for universal access to pre-school.

- AP


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...