Blog Counting words can change a life

Counting words can change a life

by Chris Boggiano

One of the perks of what I do here at VersaMe is that I get to talk to other parents about parenting – A LOT. And after years of researching early childhood education at Stanford with my fellow VersaMe co-founders, Nicki and Jon, we discovered that there’s a huge disconnect between what researchers are saying about early development and what trickles down to general parenting knowledge.

Over 30 years of scientific research has shown that the more words a child hears between birth and age 4, the more likely they are to reach their intellectual potential and succeed in life. The number of words a child hears during this critical period influences everything from when they say their first words to their grades in school and what career path they choose.

Speaking to your child is easy once you get the hang of it. The hard part? Knowing if you’re saying enough. The research also shows that there’s a huge variation in how much children hear. Some kids hear only 3,000 words a day while others might hear up to 30,000. And to top it all off, 75% of parents think they’re above average on word count, which is, of course, impossible.

Bursting the word bubble  

This research has been around for decades, yet there’s never been a way to count your child’s verbal engagement unless you wanted to frantically keep tally marks on a notepad. Parents told us that even after learning about the research it’s really hard to improve when you’re not getting any feedback on how you’re doing (and your little-kiddle isn’t going to tell you that he’s not getting enough words). It seemed like some way to measure words would be really helpful for parents of children in this critical age range.

All of this inspired us to find a solution to help parents know how much verbal engagement they’re giving their kids (and teach them how important it is). We gathered the smartest data scientists, speech therapists, software developers, and hardware engineers to create the Starling™ – the smart device that helps parents engage more with their little ones. And after years of development, we’re excited to say there’s finally a way to count the words you’re saying to your child (and the words they’ll eventually say back to you).

How? Just place the Starling near your baby and start talking. In real-time, the Starling processes the audio signals from your verbal engagements, turning them into data that will tell you just how many words your baby is being exposed to. Sounds easy, but the Starling is really a technological wonder.

In the end, your baby will have a head start on learning (for life) that was previously impossible to gauge. You’ll have a parenting experience that neither one of you will forget. And my co-founders, our team of experts and I will have achieved what we set out to do.

About the Author

Chris Boggiano

Chris Boggiano is one of the founders of VersaMe. Chris has served in the Army and worked in high-tech manufacturing at Tessera. He holds degrees from West Point and Stanford. Chris is luckily married to his childhood sweetheart, Pam, and together they have two beautiful daughters who were some of the first Starling users.

Starling on display at the B8ta store

Bay area can now experience the Starling

So how does the Starling actually work?