Atlanta Speech School’s video “Every Opportunity” has gone viral around the country and world. The video stars a young boy who explains how he feels when an adult ignores him or loses patience with him. The story goes on to demonstrate how positive changes in adults’ communication behavior can profoundly affect a child’s vocabulary, language, speech, spelling, reading and other literacy skills to help them prosper into adulthood. Initially picked up by the Huffington Post, the video was then featured on the Scary Mommy blog, and HLN’s Weekend Express interviewed Comer Yates, the school’s executive director.
The media coverage started a sharing tsunami, which reached more than 1.2 million views so far:
School staff created the video based on research from brain development and literacy experts. The video shares key points from this research, focusing on the importance of children from birth to age 8 receiving social and emotional engagement early and often. The video also emphasizes intentional development of language skills—such as vocabulary and comprehension—to support young children in learning to read and older students in reading to learn.
A grant from the James M. Cox Foundation funded the schools’ efforts to make the “Every Opportunity” video as a trailer for free online courses for teachers of kindergarten through third grade—available next year as a professional development resource to promote literacy. School administrators and staff hope the video’s viral status will encourage child care providers, preschool teachers and other educators to incorporate the positive communication message into their classrooms.
Sondra Mims, M.A., CCC-SLP, is Atlanta SPeech School’s chief academic officer and and director of the Wardlaw Lower School. SMims@atlantaspeechschool.org