Apply for the
Word Gap App Scholarship


Our Scholarship Essay Contest has been completed! We received almost 30 amazing submissions. It was very hard to judge and select a winner! Everyone who entered should be very proud of themselves!!  

Congratulations to Winner, Ryan Harris from Solanco who will attending Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology in the fall.  

He will be awarded a $1,000 scholarship for his future studies. 

Many essays had amazing quotes that truly demonstrate the importance of words in a child's development and we pulled several quotes from the essay and will use them when we present to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for the final phase of the Word Gap Challenge.  You can see these amazing quotes below. We wish all applicants the best of luck in all their future endeavors! 

Word Gap App Scholarship Quotes:

“Let me tell you about someone that I’ve grown to admire, and grew up with - my brother.  His name is Kyle, and he is a 24 year-old with Down syndrome.  He is amazing, there is simply no other way to put it.  He is the kindest, most genuine person I know.  That’s not why I wanted to tell his story.  He is far more independent and higher functioning than many people with special needs.  He can not only hold a meaningful conversation with almost anyone, but he can use complex words effectively and correctly…. He learned much the same way I did, through the love and devotion of our parents.” – Ryan Harris

“Words are everywhere…unfortunately, they are not distributed equally.” – Madeleine Brown

“While I know it was not easy for my mom, being a single mother, to always find the time to read me a story before bedtime or to afford going to a local children’s museum on the weekends, I am well aware of how these efforts contributed to my current academic success.” – Madeleine Brown

“Not only do I want prevent the word gap with my children, I am committed to learning how to prevent or mitigate the word gap for children in my community.” – Madeleine Brown

“Words are everywhere, and hopefully one day we can find a way to equally distribute words and level the playing field for all children.” – Madeleine Brown

“When my mother would help me dress in the morning, she would talk me through the process of putting clothes on.” – Ryan Harris

“Our parents were and still are, bound and determined to ensure that my brother and I would not fall victim to the word gap. They still ask me questions and listen to my responses.” – Ryan Harris

“Each night before bed my grandma would ask us to share names and topics and she would make up a story using the information we gave her. As we got older we could add to the story ourselves.” – Morgan Harris

“Another very healthy aspect of my family is our family dinners. When we were little we always had family meals….dinnertime at our house brings interesting conversations about numerous topics” –Morgan Harris

“During car rides, it was common for me to tell my mom to stop the car entirely, because I wanted to count hay bales.” – Carly Snyder

 “As a babysitter, I also try to avoid children from falling into the word gap through song. I frequently read books and sing lullabies to the children I babysit before they go to bed like my grandparents and parents read and sang to me before dreams took hold of my mind and I fell into a deep sleep.” – Carly Snyder

 “She was a present mother; never ever did I feel as if she was missing in my life.” – Michael Abrew

“She invested into my future, and did anything and everything to spend every second next to me.” – Michael Abrew

“I am grateful for such a wonderful mother who protected me from the word gap and lead me into the rightful paths in life.” – Michael Abrew

“Instead of speaking ‘baby talk’ to me all of the time, they would label items specifically.” –  Taylor Hess

“Furthermore, as resourceful caregivers, my parents decided to place me with my maternal grandmother while they both worked during the day. My grandmother dedicated her life to ensuring that I received everything I need throughout the day. She played with me and read to me when I was incredibly young. Furthermore, she was constantly talking to me or singing me whatever song that came across the radio.” – Emily White

 “My mother promised me from a young age that I would not end up where she did, that I would excel in life and never stop reaching my goals.” – Alexis Ramos

“If she did not encourage me to do my best and challenge myself, then I fear that I would have become one of the children in the statistical word gap of low income families.” – Alexis Ramos

“The simplest thing my parents did to keep me from falling victim to the word gap was by talking to me. They would speak to me and ask me questions.  By reading to me, singing songs, and just talking to me, my parents made sure that I did not fall victim to the word gap.” – Andrea Guscott

“The importance of parents interacting with their children at a young age is underestimated and essential to future success academically.” – Austin Jones

“My parents must have known about this “word gap secret” because they made it their priority to talk, read, and sing to me, even though I couldn’t verbally express my thoughts back to them.” – Hannah Johnson

“My parents did not speak to me like I was a baby; they talked as they normally would, because they read that speaking to your baby like an adult would further their development.” – Carl Joos

“I can still hear my mother’s voice as she read to me with excited inflection, using different voices for different characters and events in the story.” – Jillian Kemmerly

“Words have changed me so much that I have gained necessary virtues from my family and, more importantly, from books.” – Jillian Kemmerly

“I can remember many instances of their support, but one of the greatest gifts received occurred earlier than I can remember. This gift was the solid foundation draped around me as a baby, a bridge across the word gap, which included making sounds, hearing, and mimicking songs, identifying the world around me, and most importantly reading so many fun and engaging stories to me throughout my childhood.” – Collin Heckman

“A book a night eliminates the word gap fright.” – Noah Speitel

“Something as simple as reading a book exposes children to a whole plethora of words that might not be spoken daily.” – Noah Speitel

“My parents made sure to avoid using ‘baby talk’ and to talk to me often to ensure that I developed well and didn’t fall victim to the word gap.” – Cameron Terry

“My parents taught me how to speak like any other parents would have; however, I was also learning how to write Telugu. Although I do not speak Telugu and Hindi fluently, I completely understand and follow a conversation in either Telugu or Hindi.” – Faith Dalavai

“I can remember reading signs along the road and talking nonstop during car rides.” – Maria Carvell

“Parents and babysitters can download an app that teaches them ways to prevent the word gap, and they can make a set list of songs that play throughout the day.” – Maria Carvell

“I was her companion. I would ‘help’ her clean up around the house, and she would talk me through the steps of what we were doing and what tools we were using.” – Lianna Sauve

“She would play a note on the piano and have me repeat after her, ‘La la, la, la. Lo, lo, lo, lo. Le, le, le, le.’ This practice allowed me to become more confident with speaking, and eventually allowed me to start communicating with words.” – Alyssa Cunningham

“My economic status was not what helped me avoid the word gap, it was my parents.” – Callie Dydo

“Through reading books and singing songs at my then young age, learning to communicate was always encouraged; this is evident through the silly rhyming song my mother made up at bath time.” – Kyra Sangrey

“...making my parents giggle as I used words like ‘luscious’ to describe the vividly green grass. Although I was only five – years- old at the time, this use of vocabulary was not atypical due to the mindful exposure to adult conversation, educational videos, audiobooks, and reading aloud that my parents ensured I was surrounded by at a very young age.” – Danae Martin

“Whenever the weather was warm, I would also go on walks with my family. On these walks, my parents would often point out the different things we saw as we walked. They would point out the different colors and the different shapes along our path. We also would count everything we passed.” – Mary Thomas


My mom did not even know what the word gap was until I brought home this essay prompt. But even 17 years ago, my mom knew she had to do something to challenge me and help me grow. By putting herself aside, my mother made sure I would not fall victim to the word gap.-Lianna Suave


While preschool may not be available to all students every parent, if allotted the time, can give their child an atmosphere where words are celebrated and explored.. –Noah Speitel


Thanks to my family, I was able to have a strong vocabulary and I hope future generations are able to feel the same. -Rachael Smith


Every weekend I would accompany her to the grocery store where I sat in the front basket. Here I would observe her selections, and play the games on cereal boxes while savoring my free piece of cheese from the deli. I looked forward to whenever we got to the baking aisle, because mom would tell me the ingredients we needed to make the next dessert. She would say each word in such an excited manner that I associated chocolate chips and peanut butter with pure bliss early on in life. –Joshua Gray