LENA Program Effectiveness


Conversational turns are powerful — 200+ peer-reviewed research
studies have used LENA technology to prove it.

LENA programs are designed to harness that power to drive better outcomes for children.

  • How effective are LENA programs? Very.
  • What are they effective at doing? A lot.
  • Who do they help?
    • Early childhood educators.
    • Parents and caregivers.
    • Children aged 0-5.
  • How do we know?
    • A growing body of program evaluations is proving it.
    • Program effectiveness data is built into the program.

LENA Start
LENA Grow is an evidence-based professional development program for early childhood educators. Since 2017, researchers have regularly conducted program evaluations to test LENA Grow’s effectiveness at:

Improving child outcomes, including:

  • Cognitive development1, 3
  • Language development1, 2, 6, 7, 11, 13, 14
  • Social-emotional skills,8, 13
  • Literacy skills1
  • Eliminating language isolation9

Improving outcomes for early childhood educators, including:

  • Classroom quality (CLASS® scores)2, 5, 11
  • Job satisfaction and self-efficacy1, 4, 10
  • Family engagement4
  • Job retention12

Explore some of the highlights from these evaluations:

1 Dynia, J. (2022). The Impact of a Language-Based Intervention with Individualized Coaching in Early Childhood Education Classrooms [White paper]. SproutFive Center for Early Childhood Innovation. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1dIN71WcKQ_FZAxnTWOWfNQihmCoAXCul/view 

2 Early Learning Coalition of Escambia County (2018). Results & Lessons Learned from the First Year of LENA Grow as Part of ELC Escambia’s “Grow With Me” Initiative [White Paper]. https://info.lena.org/hubfs/08.%20LENA_Grow/LENA%20Grow%20Y1%20ELCE%20Summary%20Report_v4.pdf

3 Heilmann, J., &. Moyle, M. (2022). Evaluation of LENA Grow in Milwaukee Head Start Classrooms [White paper]. Next Door Milwaukee. https://www.nextdoormke.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/2022-Evaluation-of-LENA-Grow-in-Milwaukee-Head-Start-Classroom_Research.pdf

4 Hughes, Marcia, et al. (2023). Qualitative Evaluation of Hartford Grow Professional Development Model Designed to Improve the ‘Talk Environment’ in Early Childhood Care Settings [White paper]. https://www.lena.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/Hartford-Talks-LENA-Final-Report.pdf

5 LENA (2019, July 29). Early learning classrooms in Fort Worth ISD using LENA Grow increase CLASS® scores. LENA Blog. https://www.lena.org/fort-worth-class-score-increase/

6 LENA (2020, February 11). Early pilot results show teacher approval, improvements in child language skills in classrooms using LENA Grow. LENA Blog. https://www.lena.org/kansas-pilot-results/

7 LENA (2022, February 1). Preliminary findings suggest LENA Grow accelerates language development. LENA Blog. https://www.lena.org/lena-grow-developmental-snapshot-preliminary-results/

8 LENA (2022, September 22). Research shows links between LENA Grow participation and social-emotional growth. LENA Blog. https://www.lena.org/research-shows-links-between-lena-grow-participation-and-social-emotional-growth/

9 LENA (2022, November 2). New data analysis: One in five children in child care spends most of the day in language isolation. LENA Blog. https://www.lena.org/child-care-language-isolation-data-analysis/

10 LENA (2023, February 7). Survey results suggest LENA Grow improves educators’ professional outlook. LENA Blog. https://www.lena.org/teacher-perception-survey-results-lena-grow

11 LENA (2023, March 14). Coaching for impact in Sarasota County: Increased TS GOLD® and CLASS® scores. LENA Blog. https://www.lena.org/lena-grow-coaching-child-care-sarasota/

12 LENA (2023, August 4). LENA Grow may help keep early educators in the profession, new evidence suggests. LENA Blog. https://www.lena.org/lena-grow-increases-teacher-retention/

13 LENA (2023, September 21). With language and social-emotional delays on the rise, here’s one part of the solution. LENA Blog. https://www.lena.org/language-and-social-emotional-delays-lena-grow/

14 Teaching Strategies, LLC (2017). Using The Creative Curriculum With LENA Grow to Increase Language Interactions in Child Care Settings [White paper]. https://teachingstrategies.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/TS-CCIT2-LENA-Grow1.pdf

LENA Start

LENA Start is an evidence-based group program for families that uses regular feedback from LENA technology to help increase interactive talk between adults and young children.

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Iowa State University’s Evaluation of LENA Start efficacy finds richer home language environments

A study by Iowa State University found that families who participated in LENA Start provided increasingly rich home language environments for their children, expanding how much they talked to and with them over the duration of the three-month class, compared to families who did not attend.

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Initial Longitudinal Results from Huntsville City Schools show increased literacy skills and school readiness

Data show that children whose families participated in LENA Start demonstrated considerably higher early literacy scores and were far more likely to be at an advanced literacy level entering preschool, which was more than two years after their families completed the program.

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Study from University of Minnesota finds LENA Start fits well into community infrastructure

A study on LENA Start from the University of Minnesota discovered that the program can be successfully implemented in community-based settings and that families enjoy participating. The LENA Start group also increased their parent-child interaction as measured by key LENA metrics.

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Developmental Snapshot analysis shows that LENA Start’s benefits endure for two years

"These results are very encouraging, both for the validity of the Developmental Snapshot and for the effectiveness of LENA Start. I am most excited for what the results say about children who began the Start program at risk for language delays, ”said Dr. Jill Gilkerson, LENA’s Chief Research and Evaluation Officer.

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Correlation between kindergarten readiness, parent education, and conversational turns in a rural South Carolina school district

A study out of Cherokee County, S.C., has found a correlation between parent participation in LENA programs and higher scores on the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment.