Conversational turns are simple back and forth alternations between a child and an adult. Conversational turns are LENA’s proxy for quality “serve and return” interactions. Recent research has shown conversational turns to be one of the most predictive metrics of child outcomes. Most importantly, a string of recent studies have indicated that conversations have more brain-building power than adult words alone.
Dr. Rachel Romeo, post-doctoral researcher at MIT and Boston Children’s Hospital, gives an overview of the research on the achievement gap and how a child’s environmental influences — like socioeconomic status — can influence their brain development.
The amount of interaction between early childhood teachers and young children varies widely through child care centers and classrooms around the country. In an exploratory sample of LENA Grow data, we discovered that more a third of children experience just four or fewer interactions per hour with a caregiver for the vast majority of their day.