Brown is working with the City of Providence on a new initiative to improve the vocabularies of preschool children by measuring and rapidly increasing the number of words spoken in their households. Providence was awarded $5 million after being named the grand-prize winner of the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge, a competition to inspire American cities to generate innovative ideas that solve major challenges and improve city life. “Providence has identified a new model of early childhood education that is direct, simple and fundamentally revolutionary,” said New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, announcing the award. Research shows that children growing up in low-income households hear approximately 30 million fewer words by the time they reach their fourth birthday. Providence Mayor Angel Taveras successfully proposed using technology to measure and increase the number of words children hear. Brown will evaluate the data that comes out of the “Providence Talks” project.

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