HCS School Readiness Shares New Success Results of Early Start LENA Program

New results from a Huntsville City Schools parent-group program shows considerably higher early literacy scores.  The LENA Start program, started in 2015, helps parents to better prepare their kids to transition into a pre-school program.  The district was one of the first to recognize that a mission to educate all students must include a vision of children from birth to age three.  Parents have benefited from practical strategies for increasing early talk, social capital resulting from group sessions, and the enthusiasm and energy brought to every session by all parties. The new LENA report takes a deep dive into the results from Huntsville City Schools, examining the details of their implementation and the data.

LENA stands for “Language Environment Analysis,” and Huntsville was one of two initial launch sites for the program which developed by the national nonprofit and was also the first school district in the country to adopt it. LENA Start uses regular feedback from LENA’s “talk pedometer” technology to help increase interactive talk in order to close the early-talk gap, support kindergarten readiness, and build stronger families.

“We’re thrilled to see these results,” Helen Scott, the district’s school readiness director said. “With more children entering our pre-k classrooms prepared to learn, we expect to see improvements in kindergarten readiness and third grade reading proficiency. Participating in LENA Start and Huntsville’s preschool program is a powerful combination!”

“This evidence continues to build confidence that the promising outcomes we have seen can be achieved more broadly,” Dr. Stephen Hannon, president of LENA, said. “Significant gaps often emerge before children even arrive at kindergarten. These exciting longitudinal results show that building a focus on talking with children in the first three years of life will have a meaningful impact on their readiness to learn when they enter pre-k and kindergarten.”

To learn more about the program, visit the HCS Pre-K Department page.

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