LENA Start is a program for parents and caregivers of children ages 0-33 months that teaches families how to use conversation to build babies’ brains. This program is being offered to Anchorage residents through a partnership between the Anchorage Public Library and Best Beginnings.

A mother from St. Michael, Alaska reads to her child


Talk Builds Babies’ Brains

The most important time in life for your baby’s brain is the first 36 months, while their brain is growing the most. Children’s brains develop one million neural connections every second during this time. This means the years before a child turns three are a once-in-a-lifetime chance to do something wonderful.

You are your child’s first teacher. Interactive talk between caregiver and child helps close the early-talk gap, support kindergarten readiness, and build stronger families. This back and forth conversation, called a “turn”, has been linked to brain structure and long-term outcomes for a child’s language skills, social and emotional development, and future success.

What Does LENA Start Do?

LENA Start provides parents and caregivers with practical tips and information about their child’s brain and language development through 10 weeks of classes and discussion. LENA Start also uses “talk pedometer” technology to measure how much parents and caregivers are talking with their children and how much their child responds. Over the 10 weeks, families can track their progress and see how their conversation has improved. Don’t worry – specific words are not recorded and no one can listen to the data!

LENA Start is free to Anchorage-area families. Participating families will receive free books to keep and can enter to win developmentally-appropriate baby and toddler toys, gift cards, and other prizes.

What Families Are Saying About LENA Start

Local families have said:
“LENA gave us the support we needed at the time we needed it.”
“Thank you so much for a great learning experience with the LENA program. We can already see how LENA has grown [our child]’s language skills and love of reading time.”

Learn more about the LENA Start program at https://www.lena.org/lena-start/.

Get started today.

Don’t wait – submit your interest form today! After you submit an interest form, a staff member will contact you within 3 business days to complete your registration. Device exchanges will happen through the Z. J. Loussac Library unless otherwise noted. Training is currently offered on the following days and times:

5/6/2021 – 7/8/2021Thursdays at 11:00am through the Muldoon Library
6/16/2021 – 8/18/2021Wednesdays at 1:00pm

More training times will be announced in summer 2021!