Jul 23, 5:13 PM EDT

Clinton launches baby-talking campaign in Oakland

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Hillary Rodham Clinton launched a new campaign Wednesday - to encourage parents to talk, read and sing to their babies.

The former secretary of state joined community leaders in Oakland to kick-start the "Talking is Teaching: Talk Read Sing" campaign, which is sponsored by the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation and several nonprofit organizations.

The initiative is aimed at raising awareness, especially among low-income families, about the importance of talking, reading and singing to babies starting from birth. Research shows that such activity can boost children's brain development, vocabulary and school readiness.

"The brain research is not only telling us, but compelling us, to act on the understanding of how important the very earliest days, weeks and months of life are for later development," Clinton said at a meeting of community leaders at the UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland.

The early childhood initiative will consist of a multimedia campaign aimed at parents and caregivers to highlight the importance of simple activities such as describing objects, singing aloud and reading aloud to children.

The Clinton Foundation is working with Children's Hospital, Kaiser Permanente and the Bay Area Council to create a program in Oakland that can become a model for other communities around the country.

The former first lady and U.S. senator spoke with the media about the "Talking is Teaching" initiative. But she did not answer questions or address speculation about a potential presidential campaign in 2016.

This week, Clinton also visited the Bay Area campuses of tech companies Facebook, Google and Twitter.

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