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

Marianne Elmquist, Lizbeth H. Finestack, Amanda Kriese, Erin M. Lease, Scott R. McConnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)670-698
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of child language
Volume48
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 14 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank administrators and staff of St. Paul Public Schools, Anoka-Hennepin Schools, and other participating districts, as well as the parents and children who participated in this work. We are also grateful for assistance from Anne Larson and Gerri Fischer in launching this effort, and ongoing support from Jill Gilkerson, Traci Martin, Kim Coulter, and Beth Dresser from the LENA Research Foundation. Research reported here was supported in part with funds from the Bush Foundation in partnership with ThinkSmall and Generation Next, the University of Minnesota, and LENA Research Foundation. All work was designed and is the sole responsibility of the authors with no advance reviews from funders, and no endorsements by these funders should be implied.

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements. The authors thank administrators and staff of St. Paul Public Schools, Anoka-Hennepin Schools, and other participating districts, as well as the parents and children who participated in this work. We are also grateful for assistance from Anne Larson and Gerri Fischer in launching this effort, and ongoing support from Jill Gilkerson, Traci Martin, Kim Coulter, and Beth Dresser from the LENA Research Foundation. Research reported here was supported in part with funds from the Bush Foundation in partnership with ThinkSmall and Generation Next, the University of Minnesota, and LENA Research Foundation. All work was designed and is the sole responsibility of the authors with no advance reviews from funders, and no endorsements by these funders should be implied.

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

Keywords

  • LENA
  • language development
  • parent education

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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