First Book Partnership Brings High-quality Books at Lower Cost


Happy National Reading Month!

Shared book reading is one of the most powerful ways to increase conversational turns with children, and it’s very close to our hearts here at LENA. LENA Start, our group program for parents, has given away more than 12,000 books to date, and the importance of reading is emphasized throughout all LENA programs.

Now, in honor of National Reading Month, we’re excited to announce a partnership with First Book, a nonprofit working exclusively with programs and schools serving children in need to ensure they have access to top-quality books.

First Book logo

Through First Book’s LENA Marketplace, our partners can browse a curated collection of bilingual and wordless books to support reading with children regardless of a parent’s literacy level. After all, shared reading is not about reading every word, but about engaging with a child and building mental, social, emotional skills.

Through LENA Start, caregivers are encouraged to read in a number of ways: they receive a free book at every session, weekly texts to remind them of the importance of shared reading, and recognition for meeting their reading goals. These combined elements lead to increases in time spent reading books with children – in fact, parents reported reading 65 percent more at graduation than at the start of the program.

Ordering materials through First Book will also help our partners to significantly reduce costs and save time over ordering from traditional book retailers.

“We saved roughly $1,500 in our budget by using only First Book this group!” said Cristy Dothard, a school readiness specialist with Huntsville City Schools.

To learn more about the importance of shared reading, visit our Reading Research Roundup.


The LENA Team is a dedicated group of professionals who are passionate about increasing awareness of the importance of early interactive talk. We are statisticians, speech-language pathologists, curriculum specialists, engineers, and linguists.

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