Grolig, L., Cohrdes, C., Tiffin-Richards, S. P., & Schroeder, S. (2020). Narrative dialogic reading with wordless picture books: A cluster-randomized intervention study. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 51, 191–203. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecresq.2019.11.002
Did you know that shared (dialogic) reading shows great promise for helping children develop oral language skills, which in turn improves reading? Shared reading refers to a child and adult talking about stories from books. Shared reading involves extratextual talk, where an adult asks different types of questions to the child during shared reading. Extratextual talk can help a child learn vocabulary and gain understanding. The questions asked during extratextual talk can broadly be categorised into inferential questions that focus on thoughts, inferences and feelings, and literal questions that focus on characters, setting and events of a story.
Grolig along with his team of researchers conducted an extensive study to investigate the impact of dialogic reading on literal and inferential comprehension, and vocabulary breadth (knowledge of words) and depth (knowledge of word meaning). At the level of the child care centre, 201 German-speaking preschoolers were randomly assigned to complete a dialogic reading intervention, an alternative treatment and a third no treatment group in twice weekly, 45-minute, small group sessions over 6 months (42 sessions). Results revealed positive effects on narrative comprehension, production and vocabulary breadth and depth for the children in the dialogic reading group, with inferential comprehension effects maintained after 5 months. Children in the other 2 groups did eventually catch up but the study clearly showed an advantage for the dialogic reading group.
These results add to the growing evidence base for the positive effects of dialogic reading. If you want to find out more about dialogic reading, watch this video: https://youtu.be/0FUdTAHa0W0