Susan Ochshorn of The ECE Policy Wirks notes an insidious trend: entrepreneurs have discovered Hart and Risley’s vocabulary gap between children who live in poverty and those who live in professional families.

“Reducing the gap of 30 million words between low- and high-income children has approached the level of national obsession. The Clinton Foundation got on board with its initiative Too Small to Fail. So did the University of Chicago medical school, which created a website to support the ongoing conversation.

Efforts reached a fevered pitch in the fall of 2014. The White House Office on Science and Technology, the Urban Institute, Too Small to Fail, the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Institute for Museum and Library Services hosted a forum for policymakers, researchers, and early childhood advocates to discuss the gap–a matter, some might argue, of national security.”

It was only a matter of time until the “education industrial complex” began to produce new technologies to sell.

But before you buy the latest software or apps, writes Ochshorn, consider a better alternative.

She writes:

“Just today, Roberta Michnick Golinkoff and Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, the authors of ‘How Babies Talk’, and two of the nation’s foremost experts on language acquisition, published an op-ed in the Dallas Morning News. Our efforts are missing the mark, they say. Filling little ones’ brains with 30 million words is not the right approach. How we communicate is key, in that intimate sphere of adult and child:

“We must promote warm and caring relationships in which adults don’t just talk to children, but instead engage in a back-and-forth interaction. When parents keep the conversation going, rather than simply trying to get their children to hear as many words as possible, they are preparing their children for later language and school success.

“I’ll take that—along with economic security, paid family leave, high-quality child care, flexibility in the workplace, and a big reduction in the child poverty rate. It seems to me that all of the above would go a long way toward promoting those “positive experiences with language and reading, in a safe, nonjudgmental environment.”