Save the Date: 20th Anniversary Goodnight Moon Gala on Nov. 14

Gala Save the Date Bright Buzz 05-2015Mark your calendar for the celebration of a milestone! For 20 years Bright by Three (formerly Bright Beginnings) has been helping parents and other loving caregivers of children aged 0-3. That makes this year’s 20th Anniversary Goodnight Moon Gala more special than ever.

We invite you to participate in a festive evening with donors, volunteers, partners and colleagues who have played an important role in the growth and development of Bright by Three since our founding in 1995.

This year’s event will take place on Saturday, November 14 at the Seawell Grand Ballroom. An evening featuring very special honorees Dr. Steve Berman and Dr. Christopher Ott will celebrate the past, present and future of Bright by Three.

Entertainment will be provided by the live band HomeSlice and the event will be emceed by Emmy award-winning journalist and CBS4 News anchor Jim Benemann.

Saturday, November 14, 2015
6:30-7:30 Cocktails and Silent Auction
7:30-9:00 Dinner and Live Auction
9:00-11:00 Dessert and dancing

Seawell Grand Ballroom
Denver Center for the Performing Arts
511 16th Street | Denver, CO 80202

RSVP and learn more at


Bright by Three Presenting at RMECC: Using Technology to Improve Caregiver-Child Engagement in Early Childhood

RMECC for Bright Bulletin

Bright by Three is presenting at the annual Rocky Mountain Early Childhood Conference Friday, April 17, at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver.

Christopher Price, Vice President & COO, and Tresne Hernandez, Director of Program & Evaluations, will discuss how Bright by Three has used technology to improve caregiver-child engagement in early childhood, focusing on our Bright by Text and Colorado Talks Back programs.

Since Bright by Three was founded as Bright Beginnings in 1995, three things stand out:

  1. People increasingly choose to communicate via technology
  2. Research has further confirmed the critical importance of the first three years of life
  3. The essential role of parents and caregivers in a child’s development impacts language acquisition and overall health, which can lead to gaps in school readiness

While Bright by Three will continue to offer our traditional visitation program, we have evolved to serve even more families and improve outcomes for children. Bright by Three has integrated a new texting platform and LENA (“word pedometer”) technology into our program offerings.

The in-person home and group visits and the hands-on support for families provided by our volunteers and partners is critical. We know technology can greatly enhance our efforts to reach parents and caregivers of very young children.

Nearly 90% of adults have a cell phone, and 98% of cell-phone users can access text messages. And text messages are opened 95% of the time. That means by sending tips that are timely and targeted to a child’s age, as well as the caregiver’s needs and profile, Bright by Three can greatly increase exposure to our positive parenting messages. Particularly for harder-to-reach populations, text messaging holds promise.

To learn more, join us for Bright by Three’s presentation on Friday, April 17 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m at the Rocky Mountain Early Childhood Conference or contact Tresne Hernandez at

April 17 Open House: A Celebration of Our Partners & Volunteers

Open House for Bright BulletinJoin Bright by Three on Friday, April 17, for an Open House happy hour from 4:00-7:00 p.m. at our new location on the Clayton Early Learning campus in northeast Denver — 3605 Martin Luther King Blvd. Click here to RSVP.

The Open House is an opportunity for the Bright by Three team to recognize and give thanks to the many wonderful partners and volunteers who play a key role in delivering the Bright by Three program to families around Colorado.  It’s also a chance to explore the historic Clayton Early Learning campus and learn about this hub for early childhood research and programming.

Along with drinks and appetizers, the Bright by Three Open House will feature tours of the historic Clayton Early Learning campus and the Educare Center.

“We are excited for the opportunity to further align and integrate our efforts to ensure every child in Colorado is ready for a lifetime of learning and success. It is a privilege for Bright by Three to be a part of this historic campus with such a long history of serving Denver’s children,” says Bright by Three CEO Jean McSpadden.

Please feel free to bring friends and colleagues from your organization who would be interested in learning more about Bright by Three – all are welcome. Click here to RSVP.


Bright Night Out Comedy Show – April 28

Need a night out? Leave the kids with a babysitter and join Bright by Three for an evening of laughs and adult beverages. Parents of all ages are welcome!

100% of the cost of every ticket sold supports Bright by Three’s efforts to give every Colorado child a bright beginning. Tickets are $50 each and going fast! Click here to get yours today.

Bright Night Out 
Featuring the Pump & Dump
April 28 – doors at 6:30, show at 7:30
Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret – 1601 Arapahoe St, Denver, CO 80202

The Pump & Dump Girls girls (Shayna Ferm and MC Doula) perform a hilarious, “parentally incorrect” show that combines comedy and music to highlight the lighter side of parenting. Click here to check out some clips of the Pump & Dump show on YouTube.

Contact Brittani Johnson for sponsorship information or questions. or 303-433-6200 ext. 106

Bright by Text on CBS4 News

This CBS4 News spot resulted in our biggest (two-day!) spike yet in Bright by Text signups. Previous spikes were also the result of media promotion. Soon, we will invite all the families presently enrolled in our program to join the fun!

Text Signups spike with CBS4 broadcast

Try for yourself-
Text bright to 444-999 from your phone now!

DENVER (CBS4) – Research shows that lower income parents talk less with their young children. By the time kids of lower income parents are three years old, they have heard 30 million fewer words than middle classpeers.

Local non-profit “Bright by Three” is working to level the playing field.
It recently launched Bright by Text, free weekly learning games that come to parents by text message. The texts come with a link to an explanation of why the game is good for a child’s development, which can be customized to match the child’s age. Levels range from several months old to preschool age.

Nanny Guadalupe Vargas knows that a game of pick up helps 8-month-old Cora develop hand skills. She receives weekly lessons that she and Cora can do together, and said, “It’s a neat program to be a part of, so I know I’m not boring her and I know we’re doing interactive things.”

Katharine Brenton, Director of Strategic Initiatives [Corrected] of Bright by Text, said the texts also explain why the child will benefit from the learning game, and that the texts are free.
“Most all of us have cell phones. We think it’s a great way to reach parents and at that moment they can engage in a learning game,” said Brenton.

These free messages provide invaluable lessons for Cora so she is ready for preschool.
A recent study by the National Bureau of Economic Research finds preschoolers perform better on literacy tests when parents or child care givers receive learning and reading tips via text message. The study shows by spending time earlier with a child, you mold and shape that child.

Family Psychologist Dr. Larry Curry stated children begin to build life-long learning habits between zero and three years old. He said the texts serve as a reminder to parents to work with children.
“It’s a great resource for folks don’t have a lot of resources available to them,” said Vargas.
To receive the messages, text “bright” to 444-999. Or visit the website of Bright by Three.


A Dad Learns the Value of “Parental Talk”

Justin Milner writes in Building Momentum to Bridge the Word Gap:

Before I became a dad 17 months ago, I had little idea about the importance of “parent talk” for infants. Sure, I knew I would be changing diapers (my wife was in charge of inputs, I was in charge of outputs). And I was committed to making sure my daughter became a world-class soccer player. But talking to an infant who communicated mainly through gurgles and gas emissions? What good could this babytalking possibly do?

The surprising answer: quite a lot.

Don’t feel bad if you are surprised too. Though the research on this has been clear for quite a while, getting the word out to new parents has been a real challenge. In fact, that is why Bright Beginnings was founded!

The point is that language development starts much earlier than we previously thought, and disparities in parent talk and, consequently, children’s early experiences can have effects on major child outcomes down the road. With nearly one in three American children entering kindergarten lacking the skills they need to read, and two in three children not reading at grade level by the end of third grade, the problem affects the public health of our nation as well as our prospects for future prosperity.

We hope that every parent and caregiver in our program “gets it” in time to make a difference with their own kids. It is very easy once you understand what to do! We’ve assembled a great kit of age-appropriate materials and activities and after a short visit to introduce the concepts, it’s very easy to integrate into a busy lifestyle. Request your visit today! The visit and the kit materials are free thanks to our generous supporters.

Introducing the Newest Member of the Colorado Early Childhood Summit

Announcing: Bright Beginnings was just voted in as the full member of The Colorado Early Childhood Summit!

The Colorado Early Childhood Summit is a coalition of statewide leaders in early childhood development and early learning with a principle focus on issues of children from birth to age eight. The Summit collaborates to improve early childhood services and systems through identifying issues, providing information and advocating to shape related public policy.

The Summit is guided by the belief that fostering understanding and improving communication among the state’s early childhood associations will create a stronger voice in advocacy.

We are eager to step up our participation in the Summit and other leadership organizations that promote awareness and advocacy of early childhood development issues.

Celebrate Dr. Seuss: Read with the Children in Your Life

This week, early childhood development and literacy advocates across the country are celebrating the life and work of Theodor Seuss Geisel. The author, also known as Dr. Seuss, was born on March 2, 1904. In honor of his birthday, why not commit to reading more with the children in your life? We here at Bright Beginnings invite you to explore a new book and experience the power of reading together.

drseuss06Check out one of Dr. Seuss’s colorful stories and enter the richly imaginative, fantastical worlds brought to life through his words and illustrations. From The Cat in the Hat, to Green Eggs and Ham, to The Lorax and many more, there is no shortage of fun to be had, all while stimulating children’s natural curiosity and promoting language development.

Remember, the foundation for early literacy is laid in the first several years of life. While children do not actually read before 3, they do learn that reading is fun and interesting. They develop print awareness, noticing that other people use reading and writing in daily life and enjoy it, and that letters and words are all around them. They also build phonemic awareness, recognizing sounds and patterns in the language they hear and speak. This interest in language is critical for later success when children begin to read on their own. And, the more words children hear early on, the greater their vocabulary when they enter kindergarten.

So, be sure to engage the children in your life by reading, talking, listening and singing together every day! Here are a few tips to guide you:

  • Let children help choose the books you read together.
  • Find a comfortable and quiet place to sit closely together while you read.
  • Read with fun in your voice; make the story come to life with humor and expressions.
  • Use the pictures and objects in the book to engage children as you read. Imitate animal sounds, point to objects and say their names. Ask children to name objects, practice saying words with them and praise their efforts to verbalize.
  • When children are a bit older (24-36 months), talk about the story you’ve just read. Ask questions about what happened at the beginning, middle and end of the story.
  • Take children to the library regularly and explore different kinds of books.
  • Know when to stop. Put the book away for a while if children lose interest.

Do you have another tip for making reading fun and engaging? Perhaps you already have a favorite Dr. Seuss book, or you’ve recently discovered a new one? Share it with us!

The key to smarter kids: talking to them the right way

After a piece that explores debate on child academic performance, Annie Murphy Paul concludes in the Sept 30 issue of The Brilliant Report:

“What [parents] need to do with their children is much simpler: talk.”

But not just any talk. Although well-known research by psychologists Betty Hart and Todd Risley has shown that professional parents talk more to their children than less-affluent parents—a lot more, resulting in a 30 million “word gap” by the time children reach age three—more recent research is refining our sense of exactly what kinds of talk at home foster children’s success at school. For example, a study conducted by researchers at the UCLA School of Public Health and published in the journalPediatrics found that two-way adult-child conversations were six times as potent in promoting language development as interludes in which the adult did all the talking.

Engaging in this reciprocal back-and-forth gives children a chance to try out language for themselves, and also gives them the sense that their thoughts and opinions matter.

This reciprocal back-and-forth, or “dialogic communication”, is at the core of the Bright Beginnings programs.

Poverty as a Childhood Disease

Dr. Perry Klass in the NY Times Health and Science Section:

…Dr. Benard P. Dreyer, professor of pediatrics at New York University and a past president of the Academic Pediatric Association, called on pediatricians to take on poverty as a serious underlying threat to children’s health. He was prompted, he told me later, by the widening disparities between rich and poor, and the gathering weight of evidence about the importance of early childhood, and the ways that deprivation and stress in the early years of life can reduce the chances of educational and life success.

“After the first three, four, five years of life, if you have neglected that child’s brain development, you can’t go back,” he said. In the middle of the 20th century, our society made a decision to take care of the elderly, once the poorest demographic group in the United States. Now, with Medicare and Social Security, only 9 percent of older people live in poverty. Children are now our poorest group, with almost 25 percent of children under 5 living below the federal poverty level.