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Talking Stickers

How can simple technology close the vocabulary gap?

Bringing words to life – improve language skills for children to be ready for primary school.

HundrED 2019


HundrED has selected this innovation to

HundrED 2019

HundrED 2018

Web presence






August 2017
Every child loves stickers, we used this fact to design Talking Stickers for children to improve language skills through play.

About the innovation

What is Talking Stickers?

Worldwide there are 250 million preschool children who are not ready for primary school. In the early years, children learn most vocabulary from their parents but where parents struggle with their own illiteracy they can find it difficult to support children to develop cognitively during the vital early years.

Limited vocabulary is a huge barrier to school success and children from some less advantaged backgrounds who often start school significantly behind their peers. This gap frequently widens as children move through school leaving some children unable to reach their full potential or even at risk of dropping out of school altogether. This can lead to an enormous loss of economic potential both for the child and for the country.

Talking Stickers seeks to close this vocabulary gap by tapping into the importance of play in early literacy skills as well as children’s love for stickers. They aimed to develop a home-based learning system which would enable parents to become their children’s teachers. Talking Stickers use QR codes and pair them with a tablet or a smartphone - which can read and record words, songs and nursery rhymes.

Talking Stickers work with educational organisations to identify suitable vocabulary to be included. Based on pre-existing, culturally appropriate early development materials, age specific bundles of stickers are developed. These stickers promote play, develop reading and turn everyday objects into educational toys. Stickers can also be used in existing books with parents or teachers recording themselves reading the book.

For a monthly subscription, parents receive a monthly batch of stickers from their educational institutions.Parents are empowered to read, talk and sing with their children. An impact report by Talking Stickers indicated that parent to child interaction increased to an average of 42 minutes per day. Importantly, parents were able to develop their own vocabulary alongside their children. Based on studies, Talking Stickers estimate that after a year would reduce the vocabulary gap by 75 to 90%.

Talking Stickers can be used to record instructions on medical products to enable parents who cannot read to access audio instructions.

Talking Stickers was a runner up in the 2015 Hult Prize Challenge.

Impact & scalability

Impact & Scalability


Talking Stickers is unique as it requires children to have physical activity with the stickers while developing their language skills. It provides an immersive experience, encourages peer-learning at centers, and supports rich caregiver-child interaction. It also provides an opportunity outside the four walls of the school, connects the school to the home and in the process, breaks barriers of accessibility and affordability.


Pilot studies suggest that Talking Stickers increased parent-child interaction time each day by an average of 42 minutes. With this increased interaction time and access to educational stickers in their home, children aged 3-4 learned on average 11 new words per week, whereas children aged 5-6 learned 26.


Talking Stickers are currently being used in India and Canada and it will be rolled out to Lebanon, Mozambique and Bangladesh over the coming years. Talking Stickers make use of local partners to distribute stickers and enrich existing educational materials.

Implementation steps

Get to know Talking Stickers
Familiarize yourself with the many different features of Talking Stickers.

It is important to involve teachers and getting them to understand the features and benefits of Talking Stickers. For example, Talking Stickers can be used for structured and unstructured play based learning in any language at centers and at homes.

The stickers can augment existing books, stories, environment, toys, and activities bringing words to life. Stickers can be pre-recorded (not re-recordable) and re-recordable ones encouraging the child to listen to the teacher, parent at school and homes. Given that stickers are child-driven, it seamlessly produces a strong school-home-school connection, increasing parent-child and teacher-child interaction.

A short handbook for educators and parents is available for free download.

Explore the options
Discover which existing materials can be integrated with Talking Stickers

The teacher can customize existing materials or curriculum by recording the stickers in her/his voice. The materials can be language/arts/activities/science/logic reasoning/or a role play task. Once a teacher records on a sticker, the audio is available for other children at centers and homes. The teacher can also customize the stickers based on the level of the child.

Use Talking Stickers in the classroom
Set up group or peer-based learning in a classroom setting

Stickers used in a classroom setting can be explorative, free-play or supervised. In some instances, children are exposed to new concepts in centers in a group or activity setting, which encourages team-work, planning, and a sense of accomplishment. These stickers can also be shared for homes by providing a bundle of stickers for homes (with center-based activity).

Connect school with home to empower parents
Talking Stickers enables parents to become partners in learning

Stickers can also be provided for unstructured play and encouraging parent-child interaction at homes. These stickers can be open-ended and/or provide a learning tool for parents to follow their child’s learning at home. Stickers can also be used in library books that are taken home, encourage the child to read and record, capturing the learning moments for the child to share at school or with peers.

For many parents, time can be a significant barrier to talking to and teaching their children. Talking Stickers ask parents to give 20 minutes a day to using Talking Stickers and have found so far that the response has been favourable.

‘Parents felt empowered with a learning tool at home that was fun and integrated at home. Children loved hearing their parents’ and siblings’ voices. Children loved playing with stickers at home.’ Field testing report

Personalize the content
Meet the needs of individual children

Talking Stickers also provides data analytics on what type of stickers is being (and not being scanned) scanned, frequency of use, and duration of use. This provides a powerful tool for the teachers to customize the content based on the child’s development needs.

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