Congratulations to five semi-finalists of the Bridging the Word Gap Challenge! Each gets a $25,000 prize to advance their project and test their idea on a larger scale, then present them in a final round in March. With the help of the Challenge organizers, the finalists will be matched with a community or program that fits their project. 

Read about them and their proposed interventions:

Beginning with Babble

Catherine Gottfred, John Lybolt, Callie Wilbat, Emily Nierman, Joshua Holton, Nina Smith, Gregory Moses, Ernest Sanders, James Webster, Biju Kulathakal | Language Empowers All People (LEAP)

A mobile app that reminds caregivers to interact with their baby through a variety of developmentally appropriate stimuli that are situationally based and scaffolded by prior success, babies’ interests, and parent engagement.

Háblame bebé

Dr. Melissa Baralt | Florida International University

Dr. Ashley Darcy Mahoney | George Washington University

Dr. Natalie Brito | Columbia University

A mobile app that promotes Spanish-English bilingualism and reduces the word gap for Hispanic children.


Chris Boggiano | VersaMe

A wearable device by VersaMe that counts the number of words a child hears in real-time, with data accessible via a web dashboard. Both parents and home visitors will be able to access this data in aims of creating and maintaining positive behavior change.

TALK Around Town

Kathryn Bigelow, Dwight Irvin, Nick Eastwood-Tallmon | Juniper Gardens Children’s Project

A mobile app that provides individualized, real-time, location-specific messages to parents aimed at promoting parent and child communication during community outings.

Word Gap App

Aimee Ketchum | Aimee’s Babies, LLC

A mobile app that offers parents and caregivers information on interacting with their baby in English and Spanish, provides alerts, videos, and tracks interaction. The app will encourage use based on a point system.