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Too Small to Fail Evaluation Guide and Research Summaries


Too Small to Fail leads a public awareness and action campaign, “Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing,” to promote the importance of early brain and language development and to support parents with tools to talk, read, and sing with their young children from birth.


The Question: How could Too Small to Fail support its campaign partners to evaluate their own work and to learn from its pilot programs?

Local partners are a key component of the “Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing” campaign. Drawn from community based organizations, faith communities, local business and early childhood educators, local partners adopt and adapt materials provided by Too Small to Fail to launch their own public awareness and parent education initiatives.

Too Small to Fail supports its local partners through a robust set of practice-focused materials, including a Campaign Guide, tip sheets, and summaries of “Talking is Teaching” pilots around the country. These materials undergo regular updates to incorporate new research, best practices, and lessons learned from campaign partners.


The Process: Creating user-friendly evaluation tools for campaign partners

Public Profit helps Too Small to Fail to update its evaluation tools and summarizes the results of university-led research studies of “Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing” pilots in the San Francisco Bay area and Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Our supports for Too Small to Fail’s evaluation tools include:

  • Updating the evaluation chapter of the Community Campaign Guide to be more accessible to non-technical readers and to include links to helpful resources.
  • Creating a data collection check sheet, linked to the Community Campaign Guide, that takes a step-by-step approach to planning and implementing data collection activities for local “Talking is Teaching” campaigns.
  • Reviewing and revising draft surveys for a variety of Too Small to Fail pilots, including partner surveys distributed by the National Diaper Bank Network and app-based surveys for WIC Shopper.

Too Small to Fail partners with researchers at Oklahoma State University and San Francisco State University to research “Talking is Teaching” pilot programs hosted in grocery stores, laundromats, early childhood education centers, and hospitals. These research studies include quantitative and qualitative measures of the pilots’ effectiveness in helping parents to build new knowledge and support their young children’s development. The university-issued reports are 50-100 pages long, with deep detail about methodology, similar studies, and fine-grained results.

Public Profit summarizes these lengthy reports into reader-friendly briefs that highlight the innovative model used in the pilot, notable shifts in parents’ knowledge, skills, and behaviors, and practice-based take-aways for local partners.


The Outcome: Partner support and improved practice

The updated Community Campaign Guide and research summaries are available to campaign partners through the “Talking is Teaching” community campaign website. Local partners use these resources to guide the development of their own pilot initiatives and evaluation studies.

In 2018, Public Profit, Too Small to Fail, and the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital are working together to pilot an early math awareness initiative, “Let’s Talk About Math” for parents of young patients. Public Profit is leading the evaluation of this innovative pilot, and will share our findings with the Too Small to Fail community through an evaluation summary and webinar briefing.

An example of a report we helped summarize can be found here.

Too Small to Fail & the Clinton Foundation

Too Small to Fail, an early childhood initiative of the Clinton Foundation, promotes the importance of early brain and language development and supports parents with tools to talk, read, and sing with their young children from birth. Today, 60 percent of children in the United States start kindergarten unprepared, lagging behind their peers in critical language and reading skills. Through partnerships with pediatricians, hospitals, faith-based leaders, community-based organizations, businesses, entertainment industry leaders, and others, Too Small to Fail is meeting parents where they are to help them prepare their children for success in school and beyond. Whether at the pediatrician’s office or the playground, Too Small to Fail aims to make small moments big by creating opportunities for meaningful interactions anytime, anywhere.