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Posts

  • 10 Tips for Family Engagement
    We’ve pulled together 10 strategies for connecting with families in your local community.
  • 2017: Year in Review
    This past year, we've seen the number of parents and caregivers focused on improving interactive talk increasing every day, and many have been putting into practice what they've learned through LENA-based solutions.
  • 5 “Wows” and 5 “Worries” from LENA Conference 2017
    Ten key insights from presentations and discussions at the 2017 LENA Early Language Conference.
  • 7 Ways Forward on the Paths to Opportunity
    As we ponder learnings from the 2017 LENA Early Language Conference, the question emerges: where do we go from here? The discussions and presentations suggested seven ways forward.
  • Atlanta Speech School uses LENA for families of hard of hearing children
    Staff from the Atlanta Speech School share how they use LENA feedback in coaching sessions with families to help increase their awareness and understanding of the audio environment in their home.
  • Case Study: How Sound Start Babies uses LENA SP to support parents
    Sound Start Babies, a nonprofit organization based in New Jersey, provides home and center-based early intervention services for children with hearing loss. Their team’s parent-coaching program, The COMPASS Project, uses LENA SP to provide feedback to parents on how much language their children experience during the day, informing targeted coaching around areas for growth. LENA SP provides richly detailed information about a child’s audio environment, measuring the amount of adult words, conversational turns, overlapping sounds, and electronic noise. Understanding this information is particularly important for families with children who are hard of hearing, as these children are at a higher risk for developmental delays if they do not receive ample language input during the critical first three years of life. ... <a href="https://www.lena.org/sound-start-babies-case-study/" class="more-link">Read More</a>
  • First Book Partnership Brings High-quality Books at Lower Cost
    LENA is teaming up with First Book, a nonprofit working exclusively with programs and schools serving children in need to ensure they have access to top-quality books. Through First Book's LENA Marketplace, partners can browse a curated collection of bilingual and wordless books.
  • First paper published linking conversational turns with brain structure
    The first research showing a relationship between conversational turns and brain structure has ben published in JNeurosci. The paper investigates how back and forth interaction between children and their adult caregivers relate to white matter connectivity in the brain.
  • Frameworks for understanding effective family engagement
    Working with families and communities is at the heart of what we do at LENA. This post provides an overview of well-established definitions of family engagement that inform our programs.
  • Honoring Pioneers in Improving Early Language Development
    Congratulations to the winners of the 2017 Terry Paul “Making a Difference” awards! These awards are given at our biennial conference, to recognize outstanding contributions to fostering talk with children birth to three.
  • Introducing LENA Home 2.0 – Easier to deliver and more accessible!
    The May 2018 release of LENA Home, which adds an early language focus to home visiting initiatives, includes easier access to key metrics, a fully revised coaching guide, and a refreshed online library of print and video resources.
  • Just call us LENA
    We're excited to announce that we're simplifying our name to LENA. This change reflects who we are and the work we’re doing to support parents, educators, and researchers in improving the language environments of children worldwide.
  • LENA Grow: Lessons from our learning site
    We launched a learning site to gain hands-on experience implementing our professional development program for early childhood teachers. Read what we learned about establishing trust, engaging staff, and what’s next.
  • LENA Launches Local “Learning Site” for LENA Grow
    We’re excited to announce the first LENA Grow site in Colorado in partnership with the Aspen Center for Child Development, and this time LENA staff will be playing an active role in the coaching!
  • LENA Programming Aligns with Head Start’s Parent, Family, and Community Engagement (PFCE) Framework
    Learn more about how LENA’s programs support key aspects of Head Start’s updated Parent, Family, and Community Engagement (PFCE) Framework.
  • LENA Start<sup>®</sup> Triples Its Reach
    In the fall of 2017, LENA Start expanded to 16 metro areas, in partnership with 11 organizations around the country.
  • Meet Miss Vera
    Vera Dunson was skeptical at first. After all, she’s in her 70s, and she knows how to take great care of the kids in her classroom — what difference was having them wear a little device once a week going to make? But the results surprised her.
  • New report from Escambia County on LENA Grow Shows CLASS® Gains
    Data from the first year of partnership with the Early Learning Coalition of Escambia County (ELCEC) shows that classrooms using LENA Grow, our professional development program for early childhood educators, showed gains on CLASS® assessment scores.
  • New research says how much you talk with babies is linked to their IQ in adolescence
    10-year longitudinal study published in Pediatrics correlates interactive talk in early childhood with later cognitive outcomes.
  • New research sheds light on the importance of conversational turns
    New research by a team at Harvard and MIT used LENA technology and brain imaging to measure the relationship between children’s language experience and their brain activity. The study found that conversational turns predicted variance in verbal scores, while the sheer number of adult words did not.
  • Parent Profile: Lily Ellison Shares how LENA Start Changed her Approach to Reading
    “The thing I found the most interesting in the classes was the difference between reading to and reading with a child,” Lily explained. “Roseanna had heard the entire Harry Potter series, but we didn’t read it together, so the same parts of her brain weren’t lighting up.”
  • Parent Recruitment 101: A Q&A with Jennifer Calderon
    A Recruitment Specialist shares her strategies for recruiting parents and families to participate in early childhood intervention programs.
  • Parents as Teachers Affiliates Add an Early-talk Focus
    LENA and multiple affiliates of Parents as Teachers, a MIECHV-approved home visiting organization, are working together to promote optimal early development for children by supporting and training parents and caregivers.
  • Parents gain confidence, skills, and awareness through LENA Start classes
    On a warm spring afternoon in Houston, Texas, a 2-year-old named Nadia shrieked with joy as she rocketed down the slide at a local playground. Her dad, Ivan, caught her in a bear hug at the bottom, while her mom, Hazel, looked on with a grin. Though seasoned experts now, both had been nervous about the transition to parenthood before Nadia arrived. “She’s our first and only child, so we didn’t really know what to do when we were expecting her,” Ivan said. “That’s why we decided to sign up for the upWORDS program. And it was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.” The upWORDS program — one of 18 LENA Start programs nationwide — is run through ... <a href="https://www.lena.org/lena-start-2018-mid-year-impact-report/" class="more-link">Read More</a>
  • Q & A with Dr. Dana Suskind
    Dr. Dana Suskind shares about the origins of her book, how she uses LENA technology, and why we all need to "spread the words."
  • Q&A with economist Flávio Cunha
    An economics professor explains his research on human capital formation, with a particular focus on understanding the forces that explain the large differences in the quality and quantity of investments that children receive from their parents and family.
  • Research Roundup: Brain Waves, Intelligence, and Voter Attitudes
    Did you know your brain waves sync with your baby’s? Read the study and see other exciting new findings in this month’s research roundup.
  • Research Roundup: How social influences shape a child’s development
    Children’s self-control influenced by their peers A child’s exercise of self-control may be strongly influenced by their peer group, according to new research from CU Boulder. The study administered the classic marshmallow test to children, asking them to wait to get two marshmallows instead of getting one immediately. Children who were told that members of their “in-group” opted to wait to receive marshmallows were twice as likely to wait themselves, and perceived the other children as nicer. These new findings challenge the common belief that self control is primarily shaped by neurocognitive factors within an individual. “Typically, self-control has been thought of as a trait that a child has or doesn’t have,” said lead author Sabine Doebel, a postdoctoral researcher ... <a href="https://www.lena.org/research-roundup-social-influences-shape-development/" class="more-link">Read More</a>
  • Research Roundup: Long-term impacts of early childhood education
    Read about new studies examining the long-term impacts of early childhood education on individuals and society as a whole.
  • Research Roundup: The Latest Findings on Reading
    We all know we should read with kids. But why? See the latest research on how reading affects child development.
  • Research Roundup: Winter 2017
    Want to stay up-to-date on happenings in the realm of early childhood education? Our new blog series is designed to keep you in the loop on the latest early childhood education news, research, and updates. Check it out!
  • State of Georgia Adopts LENA Grow™
    The first of six new LENA Grow™ implementations nationwide, the program will serve 800 children in 16 centers across the state during the first year!
  • Teachers, children benefit from LENA Grow Pilot with Teaching Strategies
    During the four-month pilot, LENA technology was used to measure talk and provide objective feedback to early childhood educators in two early childhood classrooms in central Virginia. In one classroom, an impressive 87.5 percent of children experienced an increase in either adult words or conversational turns.
  • Urban library expands reach and impact through community partnerships
    San Mateo County Libraries has built successful partnerships to boost the reach and impact of their programs. Learn about how they are delivering LENA Start through partnerships with San Mateo County Housing Authority, Ravenswood Family Health Center, and The Primary School.
  • Why I joined LENA after 25 years in the public school system
    Laura Camp, one of LENA’s most recent hires, joined the team after 25 years in public education. Read about why she left to join the movement to close the talk gap.

Staff & Advisors

  • Betty R. Vohr, MD
    Betty R. Vohr, MD PROFESSOR OF PEDIATRICS, ALPERT MEDICAL SCHOOL; BROWN UNIVERSITY DIRECTOR, NEONATAL FOLLOW-UP CLINIC; WOMEN AND INFANTS HOSPITAL Dr. Betty Vohr’s research focuses on prospective studies examining the impact of interventions on the comprehensive neurodevelopmental, cognitive, motor, growth, functional, educational, and behavioral outcomes of high-risk infants, especially very low birth weight infants and infants with permanent hearing loss. Dr. Vohr has been Medical Director of the Rhode Island Hearing Assessment Program since 1990, and Coordinator for the NICHD Neonatal Research Network Follow-up Studies since 1997. Dr. Vohr has used LENA technology since 2008 to investigate the language environment of premature infants in the NICU and children with congenital hearing loss. Investigations with colleague Dr. Melinda Caskey have demonstrated ... <a href="https://www.lena.org/advisors/betty-r-vohr-md/" class="more-link">Read More</a>
  • Charles R. Greenwood, PhD
    Charles R. Greenwood, PhD PROFESSOR OF APPLIED BEHAVIORAL SCIENCE, SENIOR SCIENTIST AT THE INSTITUTE FOR LIFE SPAN STUDIES, DIRECTOR OF JUNIPER GARDENS CHILDREN’S PROJECT; UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS Dr. Charles Greenwood’s research is focused on evidence-based interventions. He has received KU’s highest award for research (the Irvin Youngberg Research Achievement Award in Applied Science) and is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association. He directs Kansas City’s Juniper Gardens Children’s Project, which earned the Research Award of the Council for Exceptional Children for contributions to evidence-based practice, measurement, and for the training of researchers. Dr. Greenwood is also Co-Director of the Bio-Behavioral Measurement Core in the Kansas Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center. He is currently Co-Principal Investigator of a Research ... <a href="https://www.lena.org/advisors/charles-r-greenwood-phd/" class="more-link">Read More</a>
  • Christine Yoshinaga-Itano, PhD
    Christine Yoshinaga-Itano, PhD Research Professor, Professor Emerita; University of Colorado-Boulder Dr. Christine Yoshinaga-Itano’s research focuses in the areas of language, speech, and social-emotional development of deaf and hard-of-hearing infants and children. She is both a teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing and an audiologist. She has concentrated on the impact of early-identification and early intervention on the developmental outcomes of children with significant hearing loss. Dr. Yoshinaga-Itano was the first to demonstrate that when infants with hearing loss are identified in the first few months of life and provided with appropriate intervention services, that 80% are able to maintain age-appropriate language development and intelligible speech in the first five years of life. She also studies the development of ... <a href="https://www.lena.org/advisors/christine-yoshinaga-itano-phd/" class="more-link">Read More</a>
  • D. Kimbrough Oller, PhD
    D. Kimbrough Oller, PhD Professor and Plough Chair of Excellence; University of Memphis Dr. D. Kimbrough Oller’s research focuses on vocal development and acquisition of spoken language. In over 200 articles and books, his work addresses infant vocalizations, early speech production, multilingualism, and evolution of language. In addition to his position at the University of Memphis, Dr. Oller is an External Faculty Member of the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research, Klosterneuburg, Austria. In 2013 he was awarded the Honors of the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association, its highest honor. His bilingualism research includes Language and Literacy in Bilingual Children. His research in evolution and development of language includes The Emergence of the Speech Capacity, The Evolution of ... <a href="https://www.lena.org/advisors/d-kimbrough-oller-phd/" class="more-link">Read More</a>
  • Jess Simmons
    Jess Simmons DIRECTOR OF GROWTH STRATEGY Jessica Simmons is the Director of Growth Strategy at LENA and is thrilled to work with organizations across the country to support parents, children, educators, and communities in closing opportunity gaps. She brings over 14 years of experience in program design and replication, fund and partnership development, and program operations. In her recent past, Jess helped Reading Partners grow from eight locations to over 15 locations nationally and launched new program designs for Outward Bound across the Rocky Mountains. Jess has regularly consulted with local and national organizations on how to build systems to scale operations and increase impact. From her experience as a classroom teacher in North Carolina and Maine, she knows firsthand ... <a href="https://www.lena.org/advisors/jess-simmons/" class="more-link">Read More</a>
  • Jill Gilkerson, PhD
    Jill Gilkerson, PhD Senior Director of Research and Evaluation Dr. Jill Gilkerson graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in developmental psychology from UCLA. She also earned her Master of Arts and PhD degrees in linguistics from UCLA, both with a concentration in language acquisition. While at UCLA, her primary focus was in linguistics and the cognitive and grammatical principles that guide first and second-language acquisition (SLA). Since joining the LENA in 2005 as Director of Child Language Research, Jill’s primary role has been managing a team of researchers responsible for collecting and analyzing the spontaneous speech data used for software development, the LENA normative scales, and academic research studies. She also directed audio transcription efforts, which ... <a href="https://www.lena.org/advisors/jill-gilkerson-phd/" class="more-link">Read More</a>
  • John H.L. Hansen, PhD
    John H.L. Hansen, PhD ASSOCIATE DEAN FOR RESEARCH AT THE JONSSON SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING AND COMPUTER SCIENCE, PROFESSOR OF ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING, PROFESSOR OF SPEECH AND HEARING SCIENCES; UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS – DALLAS Dr. John H. L. Hansen’s research focuses in the field of speech processing and hearing science. He holds the University Distinguished Chair in Telecommunications Engineering, and is a Fellow of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), Fellow of ISCA (International Speech Communications Association), and received the Acoustical Society of America’s 25th Year Award. He has graduated 66 PhD/MS thesis candidates in speech and language processing (as well as in speech and hearing science) and is an author/co-author of 495 journal and conference papers and 11 textbooks. ... <a href="https://www.lena.org/advisors/john-h-l-hansen-phd/" class="more-link">Read More</a>
  • Judith K. Montgomery, PhD, CCC-SLP
    Judith K. Montgomery, PhD, CCC-SLP Professor and Director of the Communication Sciences and Disorders Program; Chapman University Dr. Judith Montgomery’s research focuses on the effects of hearing loss on adults and children; child language and vocabulary development; and response to intervention models for speech language pathologists in schools. She worked for 23 years as an SLP, elementary principal, and then Director of Special Education in school districts in southern California. A Board Certified Specialist in Child Language, she is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Communication Disorders Quarterly. She received the Annie and John Glenn Award for Outstanding Leadership in School-Based Speech Language Services and has received honors from California Speech Hearing Association and the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA). She ... <a href="https://www.lena.org/advisors/judith-k-montgomery-phd-ccc-slp/" class="more-link">Read More</a>
  • Keith J. Topping, PhD
    Keith J. Topping, PhD Director of the Centre for Paired Learning; University of Dundee, Scotland, UK Dr. Keith Topping’s research interests are in the development and evaluation of methods for non-professionals (such as parents or peers) to tutor others one-to-one in fundamental skills (such as language, reading, or math) and higher order learning across many different subjects, contexts, and ages. He also has interests in electronic literacy and computer-aided assessment and in behavior management and social competence in schools. He is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts. He has extensive experience working with teachers, children, and parents in numerous school districts, as well as with government and non-governmental organizations, ... <a href="https://www.lena.org/advisors/keith-j-topping-phd/" class="more-link">Read More</a>
  • Soyeong Pae, PhD
    Soyeong Pae, PhD Professor and Program Director of Speech Language Pathology & Audiology; Hallym University, S. Korea Dr. Soyeong Pae focuses her research on language acquisition across life span, development of culturally and linguistically fair Korean assessment tools of language and communication, evidence-based language/reading intervention in monolingual and multicultural contexts in consideration with low social economic status and language environment, and clinical markers for language/reading difficulties from dyslexia to language learning difficulties in transparent orthography. Dr. Pae is former president of the Korean Academy of Speech Language Pathology and Audiology and chief supervisor for language facilitators in Korea for children with multicultural backgrounds. She is an associate editor of Communication Sciences & Disorders.
  • Stephen M. Hannon, PhD
    Stephen M. Hannon, PhD President Dr. Stephen M. Hannon is the President of LENA and is thrilled to lead a team of talented people on a mission to close the achievement gap. He brings a wealth of technical and leadership skills spanning a 20-plus year career. Steve played critical and strategic roles with laser radar touchstone Coherent Technologies, Inc., extending from its early days through its acquisition in 2005 by Lockheed Martin. He is a recognized expert in lidar—optical remote sensing, and statistical signal processing—and applies this expertise to other sensing technologies and systems. He served as the chief architect of the WindTracer® pulsed Doppler lidar and spearheaded its commercialization and global marketing and sales initiatives. His work led to ... <a href="https://www.lena.org/advisors/stephen-m-hannon-phd/" class="more-link">Read More</a>
  • Steven F. Warren, PhD
    Steven F. Warren, PhD University Distinguished Professor of Speech-Language-Hearing: Science and Disorders, Investigator with the Institute of Life Span Studies; University of Kansas Dr. Steven Warren’s research has focused on communication and language development in children with developmental delays and disabilities. Much of this work has focused on the effects of different types of communication and language interventions as well as the way that children with specific disorders (e.g., Down syndrome) respond to different approaches. Over the past 15 years he and his colleagues have conducted several randomized clinical trials on the effects of these interventions on children’s language development. For the past 10 years Dr. Warren has been investigating the impact of parenting on the development of children with ... <a href="https://www.lena.org/advisors/steven-f-warren-phd/" class="more-link">Read More</a>