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Citizens challenged to tackle word gap in tots

The more words babies and toddlers hear, the better language skills they develop.

Bridging the Word Gap Challenge is an initiative to find easy and fun ways to help parents and caregivers engage their young children in conversations that will boost language proficiency — and ultimately their success in school and career.

The word gap is the difference between the number of words that children from low-income families are exposed to compared to children from high-income families. Experts say the gap can be 30 million fewer word by age 3.

The challenge — which will award up to $300,000  for solutions that can help close the gap — was created by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The first phase of the challenge ends Friday.

HRSA will select seven to 10 ideas to move on to the development phase, with each winner awarded up to $10,000. 

Three to five developed plans will be awarded up to $25,000 and go to the final phase before one winner is selected and awarded up to $100,000.

Go to to learn more.

K.S. McNutt

Kathryn McNutt covers higher education for The Oklahoman and NewsOK. Since joining the staff in August 2000, she also has worked as the Breaking News editor, Metro editor and assistant Local editor. A native of Oklahoma City, she graduated from... Read more ›