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Build school readiness and strengthen families with parent-group classes.

Measurable outcomes delivered through a scalable, ready-to-launch community program.

LENA Start is a program for parents that uses regular feedback from LENA technology to help increase interactive talk in order to close the early-talk gap, support kindergarten readiness, and build stronger families.

Over the course of 10 weekly sessions, parents and caregivers learn about the importance of interactive talk along with ways to incorporate more conversation into their daily routines. As home language environments are transformed, communities are transformed, and an early-language focus builds to city-wide impact.

LENA Start supports outreach to parents and caregivers of children ages 0-3 through five integrated elements:

English/Spanish book icon

An engaging, bilingual curriculum

teaches parents brain-building talk skills by leveraging instructional videos, peer-group sharing, printed resources, and self reflection.
Explore the curriculum.

14 Talking Tips icon

The 14 Talking Tips

integrate easily into daily routines and help participants boost interactive talk throughout the day.
Download a copy.

LENA technology icon

LENA technology

accurately measures the amount of talk in a child’s environment and creates easy-to-understand feedback reports for caregivers. 
Learn more.

The LENA Online™ portal

simplifies program administration and provides real-time insight into each family’s progress, supporting individualized coaching.

Training, data analysis, and ongoing support

are provided by dedicated LENA staff to help ensure successful implementations with high fidelity.

English/Spanish book icon

An engaging, bilingual curriculum teaches parents brain-building talk skills by leveraging instructional videos, peer-group sharing, printed resources, and self reflection. Explore the curriculum.

14 Talking Tips icon

The 14 Talking Tips integrate easily into daily routines and help  participants boost interactive talk throughout the day. Download a copy.

LENA technology icon

LENA technology accurately measures the amount of talk in a child’s environment and creates easy-to-understand feedback reports for caregivers. Learn more.

The LENA Online™ portal simplifies program administration and provides real-time insight into each family’s progress, supporting individualized coaching.

Training, data analysis, and ongoing support are provided by dedicated LENA staff to help ensure successful implementations with high fidelity.

To help children, start by supporting their parents.


LENA Start helps parents promote and participate in their child’s learning. Feedback-based educational content helps parents advance their own learning interests, and the peer model builds social well-being and community.

Families have the opportunity to connect with each other, building social capital in their local community, before dropping their children off in provided child care and heading to class. Through a partnership with First Book, LENA Start builds home libraries by giving every family a book at each session.

She talks more, she knows more words, and overall she’s acting like she engages better with everyone, not just us.

Ivan, father participating in LENA Start

What makes LENA Start unique?


Interventions with large populations often hit two roadblocks: excessive complexity and inconsistent implementation. LENA Start avoids these traps by focusing on a single goal — improving talk between parents and children.

LENA Start takes a cost-effective and scalable approach by delivering LENA feedback and strategies to increase talk to groups of parents, particularly targeting high-need families. Staffing needs are reduced, while impact is increased. Effective implementation is ensured by delivering the program through videos and scripted instruction — and by continuous data feedback.


The data shows parents how impactful they can be. LENA provides a visible way for us to demonstrate to parents that they’re increasing conversations, and reading time, and all the other things we’re already sharing with parents through PAT.

Patti Learman, Program Director for Parents as Teachers in Guilford County, NC

Impacts and outcomes


Over the course of the LENA Start program, parents and caregivers are given feedback on how much they’re talking with their children. Built-in effectiveness measures indicate that, though their work with LENA Start, adults are talking more and children are increasing language skills as a result.

  • 134 Interactions

    Average number of interactions with their babies that families added to their daily routine.

  • feedback

    Graduation Rate

  • Two Momths development

    Children participating in LENA Start gain nearly two months of developmental skill every month.

Who is implementing LENA Start?


The program is implemented in partnership with trusted community organizations including school districts, library systems, healthcare systems, and community- based nonprofits. Check out the interactive map of our program sites and take a look at the case studies below to learn more:


Ready to bring LENA Start to your community?

We are currently offering funding to support selected new partner communities in 2019. The final round of applications for funding to launch 2019 groups are due July 15, 2019!

Apply now!