LENA programs offer path to close the early childhood word gap

Article Summary:

The early talk gap has received much press in the last five years. For retired elementary school teacher Day McLaughlin, the coverage was illuminating. “In my 30 years of teaching third- through sixth-graders, I was always disappointed that remedial reading did not succeed in bridging the gap between children entering school with a 650-word vocabulary and their classmates who had 1,000-1,500 word vocabularies,” she explained. Diving into the research, she discovered that a growing body of evidence shows that supporting early language development could help to close achievement gaps later in life. The answer may lie in LENA programs, which use targeted feedback and coaching to help caregivers learn to increase interactive talk with young children. Using LENA, communities can prepare children to arrive at kindergarten ready to succeed.