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Parent education to improve early language development: A preliminary evaluation of LENA StartTM

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 September 2020

Department of Educational Psychology, University of Minnesota, USA
Department of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences, University of Minnesota, USA.
Department of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences, University of Minnesota, USA.
Department of Educational Psychology, University of Minnesota, USA
Department of Educational Psychology, University of Minnesota, USA
*Address for correspondence: Lizbeth H. Finestack, Department of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN55455. Email:


Parents play an important role in creating home language environments that promote language development. A nonequivalent group design was used to evaluate the effectiveness of a community-based implementation of LENA Start™, a parent-training program aimed at increasing the quantity of adult words (AWC) and conversational turns (CT). Parent-child dyads participated in LENA Start™ (n = 39) or a generic parent education program (n = 17). Overall, attendance and engagement in the LENA StartTM program were high: 72% of participants met criteria to graduate from the program. Within-subject gains were positive for LENA Start™ families. Comparison families declined on these measures. However, both effects were non-significant. Between-group analyses revealed small to medium-sized effects favoring LENA Start™ and these were significant for child vocalizations (CV) and CT but not AWC. These results provide preliminary evidence that programs like LENA StartTM can be embedded in community-based settings to promote quality parent-child language interactions.

Copyright © The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press

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