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LENA Start™




To close the gap between “haves” and “have-nots,” start where it begins: the first three years of life. Investing in early language delivers the highest return, building the foundation for success in school and life. LENA Start™ is a parenting program designed to help the 90% of families in poverty not served by federal programs, at about 1/10th the cost per family.

Research shows that the best way to build young brains is to increase verbal interactions with adults. But just telling caregivers “talk more” isn’t enough. LENA Start provides parents with regular feedback from patented early language technology, plus efficient group classes that show them how to improve the talk environment at home. LENA Start is science-based, measurable, and cost-effective.



Direct interventions with large populations often hit two roadblocks: excessive complexity and inconsistent implementation. LENA Start focuses on a single clear goal – improving talk between parents and children. It ensures fidelity of implementation by delivering the program through videos and scripted direct instruction, and by continuous data feedback on program benchmarks and parent behavior change.


Download the white paper
Right from Birth: Eliminating
the Talk Gap in Young Children

by Steven F. Warren, PhD.

Factors that make LENA Start unique include:


  • Cloud-based management system
  • Laser focus on increasing interactive talk
  • Efficient and effective parent-group delivery model
  • Continuous accountability to sponsors and all stakeholders
  • Built-in elements to foster behavior change, such as automatic goal-setting, text reminders, peer group involvement
  • Turnkey package includes all curriculum, technology, training, and support
  • Flexible staffing: degreed, non-degreed, or volunteer


LENA Start is a turnkey program with 5 integrated elements:


  • Patented LENA System monitors quantity and quality of talk with infants and toddlers and provides regular feedback to parents and program providers.
  • Engaging parent curriculum quickly and clearly teaches how to build babies’ brains through early language (all materials in both English and Spanish).
  • Practical parent-child Talking Tips™ and shared book reading transform participants’ home environments.
  • Text reminders streamline parent communications and increase motivation for behavior change.
  • Cloud-based program management gives secure data access to all stakeholders anywhere, anytime, and simplifies program administration.

LENA Start is a program for parents that uses regular feedback to help improve talk in the home. Eight weekly group sessions teach techniques and form the peer group. Then, a series of follow-up sessions reinforces habit transformation and builds social capital.


The LENA Research Foundation seeks organizations with a mission for long-term social improvement in their city or region. Previous or current involvement in early childhood or language interventions is not required. Requirements do include:


  • Vision to help parents improve their babies’ futures.
  • Goal of reaching all needy families in the area over time.
  • Funding for at least 2-3 years of implementation.
  • Access to staffing and facilities in local communities.
  • Commitment to data for accountability and transparency.


For more details on whether LENA Start is right for your organization’s goals and resources, including estimates of funding requirements, call (866) 503-9918 or email

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LENA (Language ENvironment Analysis) language measurement and analysis technology is used worldwide by researchers, clinicians, hospitals, and therapists in fields from language delay to autism, and increasingly, in interventions tackling the persistent effects of economic disadvantage on brain development and school readiness.

The LENA System measures the amount of talk in a child’s environment using a tiny wearable digital recorder and special software. It has been called a “talk pedometer” because it gives feedback so parents know how much they talk with their children and how to improve.