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Kindergarten readiness and conversational turns: Study results point to a boost from LENA Start

Kindergarten readiness and conversational turns: Study results point to a boost from LENA Start

On demand

Duration: 1 hour, 2 minutes

A study out of South Carolina has found a correlation between increased conversational turns and higher scores on the state’s Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA). Furthermore, the study found that higher KRA scores were linked to participation in the LENA Start program, designed for the parents of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.

These results build on years of research linking conversational turns to positive child outcomes. Around the world, researchers have used LENA technology to draw connections between conversational turns and brain growth, social-emotional development, middle school IQ scores, and more. This is also a story of community partnerships done right

Dr. Jody Dill, the study's author, presented these findings, along with her graduate advisor, Dr. Mary Ann Solesbee. They were joined by Dr. Dan Wuori, Senior Director of Early Learning at the Hunt Institute, and Lisa Blanton, Coordinator of Early Childhood/Elementary Curriculum in Cherokee County, S.C.


Conversational turns and kindergarten readiness_presenter graphic

About Jody Dill:

Dr. Jody Dill is a 25-year veteran of elementary education, serving as a Special Educator at Mountain View Elementary School in Taylors, S.C. Her dissertation is entitled "The Relationship Between Conversational Turns and Student Achievement."

About Mary Ann Solesbee:

Dr. Mary Ann Solesbee is a professor in the Graduate School of Education at North Greenville University in Greenville, S.C., where she teaches literacy and leadership courses and serves on doctoral committees. Dr. Solesbee has devoted her life to education. She taught elementary school, directed a program in English and culture for Kanto International students from Japan, and directed a Teaching American History Grant for eight school districts in the Upstate of South Carolina. Dr. Solesbee brings her love for history, teaching children, and mentoring teachers in a newfound writing career. She is the author of a series of books for middle grades that focus on American History in the Upstate of South Carolina. Her latest textbook, for first-grade social studies, is called South Carolina: Right Under Our Feet.  

About Dan Wuori:

Dr. Dan Wuori is the Senior Director of Early Learning at The Hunt Institute, serving as a subject matter expert and overseeing The Institute’s expanding work in the early childhood policy realm. A former kindergarten teacher and school district administrator, he served as the Deputy Director of South Carolina First Steps to School Readiness — the state’s comprehensive, public-private early learning initiative — from 2005-2018.

About Lisa Blanton:

Lisa Blanton has been in education for 18 years, with experience as a teacher, instructional coach, and public school administrator. She has worked with both local and state agencies to improve developmentally appropriate practices in early childhood settings, with a special focus on language and literacy professional development for teachers. She currently serves as the Coordinator of Early Childhood/Elementary Curriculum in Cherokee County, S.C. She is National Board Certified as an Early Childhood Generalist and has a B.A. in Elementary Education, M.Ed in Early Childhood Education, and an Ed.S in Educational Leadership.

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Be sure to read the blog post about the study, too!