Providence, Rhode Island won Grand Prize in the 2012-2013 Bloomberg Philanthropies' “Mayors Challenge” competition with a
proposal to use the LENA System for recording and reporting children's language environment as part of a pioneering initiative to improve language development in children ages 0-3. The “Providence Talks” program, which took first place in the competition against 20 finalists selected from 305 applicants, rolls out this spring with a pilot of 75 families, and is expected to grow to 2,000 families by 2015. The LENA donated its full participation in Providence Talks, including all equipment, software and staff time.
Richard H. Thaler, an economist from the University of Chicago, notes that research findings in social and behavioral science can be used to improve public policy. One example is the word gap between poor and affluent families. He discusses the programs of Dr. Dana Suskind and Providence Talks, both aimed at minimizing the word gap, including their use of LENA as a tool to provide feedback to parents.
Lexicon Valley, a Slate podcast about language hosted by Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo, discussed the importance of talking
to your kids. Betty Hart and Todd Risley's research, "Providence Talks,"" and LENA were all part of the discussion.