Build school readiness and strengthen families with parent-group classes.
Measurable outcomes delivered through a scalable, ready-to-launch community program.
LENA Start is an evidence-based community program designed to engage families and help them learn how to increase conversation with their children during the first few years of life. Interactive talk — specifically back-and-forth conversation — has been proven to be a key factor in healthy early brain development. Yet most families don’t know how much they’re talking to or with their children.
During LENA Start, families use LENA’s patented “talk pedometer” technology to measure their child’s language environment. Over the course of 10 weekly sessions that can be delivered virtually or in person, families explore this data in the form of personalized, actionable feedback reports, discussing research-based strategies with their peers to increase the quality and quantity of talk at home.
LENA Start helps communities reach parents and caregivers of young children through five integrated elements:
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.
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.
Meet families where they are, virtually or in person.
LENA Start can be delivered virtually, in person, or through a combination of in-person and virtual sessions. The virtual classes offer a unique opportunity for families to connect safely during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, providing an antidote to the increased stress, tension, and social isolation many are experiencing. Whether you choose to go fully virtual or utilize a hybrid approach, LENA’s Partner Success team will be available to help you determine which option is the perfect fit for your community.
“When I listened to the parents I serve, I realized that I needed to do more, especially in this time of crisis. Right now we have families at home, not knowing what to do, not knowing if they are giving their children the right tools to be successful in school.”
What kinds of organizations implement LENA Start?
School districts, libraries, healthcare systems, and community- based nonprofits across the country have reached more than 4,500 children and families through LENA Start. Check out our interactive map of program partners and explore some of their unique impact stories:
Proven language, literacy, and community impacts
Thousands of families have attended LENA Start, and the results are clear: parents become more connected to their children and communities, and make measurable increases in how much they talk, read, and interact with their children. Children gain language skills nearly twice as fast their peers and maintain these gains, showing advanced literacy skills upon entering preschool. Caregivers report feeling more hope for their child's future, less stress related to caregiving, and increased confidence in their parenting abilities. In short, LENA Start is a catalyst for positive change through individual families and entire communities. Read more on the Effectiveness page.
percentile gain in how much
adults are speaking to their children
percentile gain in
back-and-forth conversations between children and their caregivers
Children participating in LENA Start gain nearly two months of developmental skill every month and show elevated language skills two years after the program.
What the research says
Inside Early Talk, the latest report from LENA's research team, takes a close look at how the highest-talk caregivers accomplish so many conversational turns with their children. It turns out they aren't talking nonstop! That's good news for the rest of us, because it means creating higher-quality language environments is an attainable goal.
Funding available: Let's work together to support the families in your community!
Our funding partners have stepped forward to offset some of the program fees for new LENA Start initiatives with in-kind grants. Learn more and apply by clicking below:
Still looking for more info? Here a few places to get started: watch our short introduction to LENA Start, read our five-step guide to launching a new LENA program, schedule a time to talk with our partnerships team, or .