Read To Me! Parent-Child Book-Reading and Early Literacy Intervention Programs

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Title: Read To Me! Parent-Child Book-Reading and Early Literacy Intervention Programs
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Etheredge, Corianne "Corrie"
Publisher: New College of Florida
Place of Publication: Sarasota, Fla.
Creation Date: 2010
Publication Date: 2010


Subjects / Keywords: Policy
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theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
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Abstract: Parent-child book-reading has been repeatedly linked to benefits in child development and later academic achievement. Additionally, research indicates that the benefits of shared-reading are most salient during the early years of life before children enter school. However, the quality of book-reading interactions is influenced by a multitude of factors�such as culture, parent education level, and parent beliefs about education and literacy. Home-based intervention programs aim to provide parents with strategies to utilize during book-reading which encourage child development�in an effort to prepare them for the transition to formal schooling and promote later academic achievement. Though these programs have been successful, interventions must be inexpensive as well as require minimal amounts of time in order to be feasible and motivate busy parents to participate. The option of classroom-based book-reading interventions has also been explored. Though interventions in the classroom have resulted in benefits for children, comparisons with interventions in the home have further solidified the importance of home-based components of intervention programs in order to encourage the greatest increases in child development.
Statement of Responsibility: by Corianne "Corrie" Etheredge
Thesis: Thesis (B.A.) -- New College of Florida, 2010
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The New College of Florida, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Local: Faculty Sponsor: Fitzgerald, Keith

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Source Institution: New College of Florida
Holding Location: New College of Florida
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: local - S.T. 2010 E8
System ID: NCFE004247:00001

Permanent Link:

Material Information

Title: Read To Me! Parent-Child Book-Reading and Early Literacy Intervention Programs
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Etheredge, Corianne "Corrie"
Publisher: New College of Florida
Place of Publication: Sarasota, Fla.
Creation Date: 2010
Publication Date: 2010


Subjects / Keywords: Policy
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: Parent-child book-reading has been repeatedly linked to benefits in child development and later academic achievement. Additionally, research indicates that the benefits of shared-reading are most salient during the early years of life before children enter school. However, the quality of book-reading interactions is influenced by a multitude of factors�such as culture, parent education level, and parent beliefs about education and literacy. Home-based intervention programs aim to provide parents with strategies to utilize during book-reading which encourage child development�in an effort to prepare them for the transition to formal schooling and promote later academic achievement. Though these programs have been successful, interventions must be inexpensive as well as require minimal amounts of time in order to be feasible and motivate busy parents to participate. The option of classroom-based book-reading interventions has also been explored. Though interventions in the classroom have resulted in benefits for children, comparisons with interventions in the home have further solidified the importance of home-based components of intervention programs in order to encourage the greatest increases in child development.
Statement of Responsibility: by Corianne "Corrie" Etheredge
Thesis: Thesis (B.A.) -- New College of Florida, 2010
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The New College of Florida, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Local: Faculty Sponsor: Fitzgerald, Keith

Record Information

Source Institution: New College of Florida
Holding Location: New College of Florida
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: local - S.T. 2010 E8
System ID: NCFE004247:00001

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i READ TO ME! PARENT CHILD BOOK READING AND EARLY LITERACY INTERVENTION PROGRAMS BY A Thesis Submitted to the Division of Social Sciences New College of Florida in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Bachelor of Arts Under the sponsorship of Dr. Keith Fitzgerald Sarasota Florida, May, 2010


ii A cknowledgements I would first like to thank my sponsor, Dr. Fitzgerald for his sponsorship and flexibility. I would like to thank Dr. Coe and Dr. Bar ton for their help with this interdisciplinary thesis. Also, I thank Dr. Bashant for her support during the thesis writing process. In addition, I thank Melanie Bauer for her encouragement, understanding, and advice but most importantly her sense of humo r. And I thank my family, for letting me come across the country for college, but never letting me feel like I was that far away. Lastly, I would like to thank Todd Snavely, April Flakne, and the New College Child Center for providing me with the inspirati on for this topic and support in carrying out this project.




iv READ TO ME! PARENT CHILD BOOK READING AND EARLY LITERACY INTERVENTIO N PROGRAMS Corrie Etheredge New College of Florida, 2010 ABSTRACT Parent child book reading has been repeatedly linked to benefits in child development and later academic achievement. Additionally, research indicates that the benefits of shared reading are most salient during the early years of life before children enter school. However, the quality of book reading interactions is influenced by a multitude of factors such as culture, parent education level, and parent beliefs about education and literacy Home based intervention programs aim to provide parents with strategies to utilize during book reading which encourage child development in an effort to prepare them for the transition to formal schooling and promote later academic achievement. Though th ese programs have been successful, interventions must be inexpensive as well as require minimal amounts of time in order to be feasible and motivate busy parents to participate The option of classroom based book reading interventions has also been explore d. Though interventions in the classroom have resulted in benefits for children, comparisons with interventions in the home ave further solidified the importance of home based components of intervention programs in order to encourage the greatest increase s in child development. Dr. Keith Fitzgerald Division of Social Sciences __________________________________




1 Introduction The importance of parent child book reading in child language development and its contributions to later academic success have led to creation of shared reading intervention programs both at home and in the cla ssroom. Direct benefits from shared reading experience focus around the receptive and expressive language development of their ability communicate, which is often reflected in vocabulary development. Experience with books prior to schooling has a profound effect on child development. Children who had little experience with books and reading when e ntering school became poorer readers than their peers with more experience (Morrow 1983, as cited by Cronan, Cruz, and Arriaga 1996). Further, the best predictor of receptive language, or language comprehension, at age 2 was the age at which parents said they began reading to their children (DeBaryshe, 1993, as cited by Fletcher and Reese 2005 ). Some researchers have even gone so far as to say that the benefits of shared reading are most prominent when children are younger and diminish as time goes on (S nchal and LeFevre 2001). Specifically, reading to children from infancy until age 3 produces the greatest increases in development, where as there tend to be smaller increases from 3 to 5 years of age (e g. Yarosz & Barnett 2001, as cited by Fletcher and Reese, 2005 ). So, not only is shared reading important, but the onset of reading makes a difference which makes it essential to help parents begin this practice with their children at a young age before they enter school. Of course, reading to children is a complex practice simply promoting reading interactions is helpful, but specific strategies can further aid child development.


2 Obviously, if a mother and child read every day for a year, and another one reads once a month for a year, there will be diffe rences in the way parents and children behave. Studies suggest that increased reading frequency changes how parents and kids respond during reading and frequency of reading and quality of r eading are hard to separate (Bus 2003; Bus & van Ijzendoorn, 1992 1995, as cited by Fletcher and Reese, 2005 ). This is because frequent reading results in parents having a better understanding of their this familiarity allows parents to engage their children at the right level and even ch allenge them in beneficial ways. Parents become aware of their child abilities from specific k nowledge of their vocabulary (e.g., DeLoache & DeMendoza 1987, as cite d by Fletcher and Reese 2005 linguistic capabilities ( Martin &Reutzel 1999, as cited by Fletcher and Reese 2005). This results in the child being engaged in the interaction, seeing reading as a positive activity and increasing their participation (Bus, 2003, as cited by Fletcher and Reese ). So, both children and parents enjoy the activity more as parents are able to engage their children, and children are able to explore their interest in reading. Despite the benefits of parent child book reading, there are many factors that affect the quality and frequency of parent reading. Parent beliefs about education, culture, and SES (socioeconomic status) are some primary factors. Additionally, child behavior also influences the shared reading experience. Chapter 1 discusses the different parent and child behaviors t hat occur during joint book reading, and how they interact with one another. Chapter 2 centralizes around home based intervention programs if parents can be taught skills to utilize with their children, increase the frequency of book reading, and if it inf luences child development. Additionally, the chapter includes an overview of


3 language testing measures, and suggests optimal ways to engage parents and children in book reading activities and sustain positive benefits. Chapter 3 questions the necessity of home based interventions by exploring book reading interventions in the classroom. Though classroom based interventions are beneficial, they are even more so when combined with a home based component. This chapter solidifies the unique importance of parent child book reading interventions in comparison to and in conjunction with classroom based programs.


4 Chapter 1 : Parent Child Book Reading Research indicates that parent child book reading, also called joint or shared readi ng, can have po sitive benefits for child development and later academic success, as well as foster emergent literacy reading and writing behaviors that lay the foundation for later literacy. The extent to which these benefits occur depends upon the interaction between va rying parental strategies and beliefs, child behaviors, and other factors. These factors in turn encourage or hinder positive reading interactions. To understand how these differences interact, we must first examine the multiple academic benefits of parent child book reading. The benefits of shared reading range from developing a basic understanding of books knowing that they have letters that make up words that are read from left to right to the expansion of abstract thinking skills. One of the most concr ete benefits from parent child book reading is that of language development, which is evident in both development substantially during the first three years (Fletcher and Reese 2005, 65), as language (DeBaryshe 1993; Payne et al. 1994; as cited by Fl etcher and Reese 2005). Another study reported that the age of the child when parents began shared reading was the best indicator for receptive language or language comprehension at age 2 (DeBaryshe 1993, as cited by Fletcher and Reese 2005). Additionally the age of the child


5 when parents began shared reading interactions was negatively correlated with the expressive and receptive language of the children at 4 years of age (Payne et al. 1994, Fletcher and Reese 2005). However, 22% of parents with childre n under the age of three reported that reading to children under 12 months of age was uncommon as a daily occurrence, though once c hildren were 1 to 2 years old 44 45% of parents reported that reading was a common daily occurrence (Britto et al. 2002 as cited by Fletcher and Reese 2005, 88). So, parent child book reading interactions provide the most benefits early on, however parents do not necessarily read to their children at a young age. It is also important to note that having strong skills at the st art of their academic careers helps children to adjust to the academic setting (Snchal and LeFevre 2001) meaning that parent child book reading provides a foundation for later academic success. A primary benefit to language development that occurs durin g joint reading interactions is reflected in child vocabulary. Benefits to vocabulary are partially due to the fact that book reading provides familiarization with words and contexts that are not common during daily life (DeTemple and Snow 2003 as cited by Fletcher and Reese 2005) like a tropical rainforest or Korea. This experience has the added benefit of providing children with the opportunity to think abstractly and express their thoughts about these uncommon topics, through use of decontextualized lang uage, which is a fundamental part of developing literacy skills (Fletcher and Reese 2005). In addition to new words that are not common in daily life, adults expose children to new vocabulary by using more complex language during shared reading interaction s than in free play settings (Fletcher and Reese 2005). This occurs because adults are explaining the story or illustrations.


6 Increased vocabulary has been linked to the development of other language and literacy skills. One study indicated that children with increased vocabularies also have increased reading abilities (Torr 2006). In their 1995 meta analysis, Bus, van Ijzendoorn, and Pellegrini also recognized parent child book reading and its effect on emergent literacy and reading achievement in additi on to vocabulary growth. Further analysis also suggests that reading and vocabulary have a bidirectional relationship; as children with high vocabulary levels have been reported as also being more responsive and having a greater interest in reading than th eir less interested counterparts (Lyytenin et al 1998, as cited by Fletcher and Reese 2005). Nevertheless, increased language skil ls and added vocabulary are some of the first benefits of parent child book reading, which can transform into literacy benefi ts influencing emergent literacy and reading achievement. Simply reading the text, without discussing new topics or vocabulary, can be beneficial as well. Reading from the text is a benefit in and of itself because it exposes children to the written langu age register the knowledge that written language is more complex and has a wider variety of forms than spoken language (Mazon and Allen 1986, as cited by Bus, van Izjendoorn and Pellegrini 1995). Obviously, higher frequencies of parent child book reading allow for more opportunities for children to be exposed to written language register. The 2001 longitudinal study by Snchal & LeFevre illustrates the benefits of parent child book reading and its unique effect on child development in comparison with oth er home literacy activities. The study, which followed children from the beginning of 1 st grade until the end of 3 rd grade, aimed to measure the children's vocabulary and emergent literacy skills. The children were divided into four basic groups based on p arent


7 reports of literacy related activities in the home. Children placed in the high teach high read group were those whose parents reported teaching literacy skills and reading storybooks frequently. These children performed well on all measures across t ime initially they had advantages in spelling, decoding and alphabet skills and by the end of 3 rd grade they were still maintaining an advantage regarding comprehension skills. The second category was the low teach low read group, where parents reported l ow levels of teaching literacy skills as well as storybook reading. In this group, children performed the poorest on all measures from the beginning of grade 1 to the end of grade 3. However, the children's word reading skills significantly and suddenly in creased by the end of grade 1, which suggests that there was an increased efficacy of reading instruction over the year the children were in 1 st grade. Though information about these groups provides evidence of parent involvement in literacy activities and its effect on child development, it is not particularly surprising the next two groups have more intriguing implications regarding the effect of parent child book reading on child literacy performance. The third group was the high teach low re ad group, where parents reported teaching literacy skills to their children, but had lower frequencies of parent child book reading. Similar to children in the high teach high read environments, these children had an academic advantage until the end of gra de 1. This suggests that teaching children literacy skills, not exposing them to storybooks, is a central home factor in successful literacy performance. However, the advantage disappeared in 3 rd grade, when children in this group experienced a decline in reading performance, unlike their peers in the high teach high read group. This changes the argument, implying that though teaching literacy helps establish early skills, it does not continue to provide an advantage unless it


8 is supplemented with parent ch ild reading experiences. The final group, was the low teach high read group, where parents reported low frequencies of teaching literacy skills, but high frequencies of joint book reading. At the beginning of 1 st grade, these children performed lower than the high read high teach and high teach low read groups, however this difference disappeared in third grade, and the children's scores approached those of the high teach high read group. This demonstrates that early experiences with storybooks can have a l asting effect on children's academic performance. However, because the increased performance may not be fully evident until 3 rd grade, the effects may not become apparent until children are reading on their own. This could be because the children use their skills to quickly cover lost ground as they begin to read by themselves. So, this study suggests that home experiences are important indicators of literacy performance of children once they enter school, and continue to influence their perform ance later in their academic careers. Though other strategies, such as teaching literacy skills, are important, children who are read to maintain their advantage over time. This suggested that the best indicator for increased future performance is parent c hild book reading. Of course, explanations for the reasoning behind this may differ for example it may be that children who are read to have more positive emotions attached to reading or children who are exposed to books have higher vocabulary levels. The conclusion is still the same: parent child book reading does influence child literacy performance, and is an essential aspect of developing later literacy skills. Furthermore, the importance of parent child book reading is supported due to the fact that even in home environments where children have few other incentives to


9 participate in literacy activities, increased frequencies of parent child book reading can have a positive effect on later literacy performance (Bus, van Izjendoorn and Pellegrini 1995 ). Again, in concordance with Snchal & LeFevre, the Bus, van Izjendoorn and Pellegrini (1995) meta analysis suggests that though parent child book reading is one of many practices that promote literacy, it has a central role in literacy development and later performance. As children develop they acquire new skills and though joint book reading interactions remain important, the goals of the interaction change. In her book, Raising Black Children Who Love Reading and Writing (2000), Dierdre Glenn Paul ex plains the shared reading transformation as a process of setting new goals for the interaction. When reading to an infant, the goal is first and foremost to establish a positive experience with reading, to increase the internal motivation to read in the fu ture, as well as to ensure the child knows that books must be handled gently (Paul 2000). Furthermore, infants should be read to while on the parents lap, to further stress that reading is an emotionally pleasurable experience (Paul 2000) this is echoed by Hammer et al. (Paul 2000) who suggest that reading can be a socially affective time when the parent and child are physically close together. However, the extent to which parents see reading interactions as a social time varies. This idea is addressed in a case study by Morgan (2005) who suggested that even just reading a text, and not interacting with a child, can be an enjoyable and beneficial experience even though parents may not engage with their children on an academic level. Research indicates that p arents use different strategies as their children develop. When reading to children under the age of 18 months, parents use more attention getting strategies while reading (DeLoach e & DeMendoza 1987; Martin 1998; Snchal, Cornell et al. 1995; van Kleeck et al. 1996;


10 Wheeler 1983; as cited by Fletcher and Reese 2005). Parents also tend to deviate from the text (Martin 1998, as cited by Fletcher and Reese 2005) by pointing to pictures (Murphy 1978, as cited by Fletcher and Reese 2005) and labeling and comme nting about pictures (DeLoach e & DeMendoza 1987; Martin 1998; Murphy 1978; Ninio 1983; Snchal, Cornell et al. 1995; Snow and Goldfield 1982; Wheeler 1983; as cited by Fletcher and Reese). Additionally, parents tend to select more complex reading for the ir preschool children than for their younger siblings (van Kleeck & Beckley McCall 2002, as cited by Fletcher and Reese 2005). For example, picture books (van Kleeck et al. 1996, as cited by Fletcher and Reese 2005), books about the alphabet, counting, and labeling, are frequently read to younger children (Sulzby & Teale 1987, as cited by Fletcher and Reese 2005). As children transition from infancy, the reading interaction progresses and the goals of reading shift as well. With toddlers, Paul (2000) decl ares that it is still important to lap read, but that the main goal of reading is to solidify in the child's mind that reading is an important and saying that paren ts also begin to ask questions and have conversations about illustrations and different aspects of the story when reading with children older than 18 months (Goodsitt et al. 1988; Martin 1998; Murphy 1978; Snchal, Cornell et al. 1995, Snow and Goldfield 1982, 1983; Wheeler 1983; as cited by Fletcher and Reese 2005). However, Fletcher and Reese add that there is a more specific goal for children under the age of three: to develop vocabulary. Of course, conversation during reading is a primary factor in acc omplishing this goal.


11 Once the child is pre school aged, the goal of parent child reading is to ensure that the child understands the conventions of book print for example the difference between books that are read for pleasure and books that are read fo r information (Paul 2000). Some research indicates that when reading with older preschool children parents begin to read the text more and lessen the amount of conversation they initiate (Bus and Van Ijzendoorn 1988; DeTemple 2001; Goodsitt et al. 1988; a s cited by Fletcher and Reese 2005). However, further research indicates that other factors can effect parental behavior (Hammer et al. 2005; Torr 2004; Weigel, Marin, and Bennett 2006). There are many benefits to parent child book reading and researchers suggest that the earlier reading interactions begin, the better. However, different parental behaviors and strategies can affect the quality of joint book reading interactions. These strategies are y, parental education and culture, and SES reading interaction. As noted above, shared reading experience has both a social as well as an academic purpose. However, research has indicated that p arental beliefs about the purpose of shared reading whether it is social or academic have a strong influence on their style and type of behavior during reading. Weigel, Marin, and Bennett (2006) school aged chil development. The research indicated two primary belief categories. The first category, y development, by providing opportunities for the child to participate in literacy activities, particularly


12 through literacy enriched homes, was termed the Facilitative group. The second category, characterized by mothers who thought schools were responsib le for teaching children, and reported difficulty in reading with children, was termed the Conventional group. The children with similar skills. It is important to no te that the placement into a literacy belief books, regularity of library visits or onset of joint reading. However, maternal education and reported grades in school were predictors of belief group mothers in the Facilitative group had both higher education levels as well as reported having better grades in school than Conventional m others. This would lead one to conclude that only mothers who did well in school would have facilitative tendencies, however another study of 14 month old children and their mothers indicated that mother with a reading disability had similar reading styles as mothers without a reading disability (Laaksa, Poikkeus and Lyytinen 1999, as cited by Fletcher and Reese 2005). So, though maternal education may be influential, maternal reading ability may not be. When asked about their beliefs and expectations for their children, women in the Facilitator group were more likely to indicate that they expected their children would enjoy school and go further in their academic careers than Conventional mothers. And Conventional mothers were more likely to believe that t heir children were too young to learn about reading and less likely to think it was their role to teach at home before the children attended school These beliefs coincided with different reading styles and behaviors.


13 Facilitative mothers were engaged in th e activity and worked to engage their children as well. This group tended to sound excited during reading, talking about the engaged the children by allowing the m to ask question s and even encouraging them to do so, as well as asking them to help tell the story. As previously noted, this type of activity provides children with many benefits, such as vocabulary and abstract thinking development. Overall, this grou p also reported reading to their children more often than Conventional mothers who reported such barriers including lack of resources such as time, space and books, and that reading to their children was difficult. So, parental strategies differed, as well as the amount of time spent reading. This is a crucial point when coupled with research that indicates that extended and repeated reading interactions This study indicates that there is a relationship bet reading and the benefits the child receives from reading interactions however elements of this relationship are still unclear. One conclusion is that mothers that show an interest in reading reinforce behaviors, which results in benefits for the child through positive, and repeated, reading interactions. Additionally, these interactions were framed in a more stimulating home environment, which provides children with more experience with literacy related materials. Another study, Torr 2004, expands upon the importance of maternal education and its effects on literacy styles and child roles during reading interaction. This study examined how pre school aged chil dren with mother s of different education levels either early school leav ing, defined as leaving school after year 10, or tertiary educated,


14 defined as having a university degree react to and comprehend pictures and written text in two picture books. The study provides information on two variables that provide a deeper insight into joint book reading interactions. Children read with parents or interactions at home as well as at school. Children were first divided into two groups based on the mater nal education categories above, half the children in each group read with a parent, and the other half with a pre school teacher resulting in four groups in all. When discussing these groups, the 1 st group is that of children reading with their early schoo l leaving mothers, the 2 nd group is of the children of early school leaving mothers reading with their teachers, the 3 rd group is that of the children reading with their tertiary educated mothers, and the 4 th group is made up of the children of tertiary ed ucated mothers reading with their teachers. The study recorded shared reading interactions and recorded the proportion of talk children were responsible for, what they talked about, the learning strategies they used, and the types of questions the children asked. The ch us insight into the joint reading experience. When examining how many time s children talked and the amount of talk children were responsible for during reading interactions, it can be seen that who the child is readi ng with affects their activity. The amount of talk refers to the proportion of conversation, measured in time, an individual contributed during the interaction, where as the number of messages refers to the specific number of instances an individual contributed. This is an important distinction because it helps to understand what roles the child and the mother play. For example, if a child asks a lot of questions and the mother


15 provides long answers contribute, it would make sense that the child would contribute less to the amount of talk, but have an increased instance of messages both the child and the mother are participating in vital ways. Children in the 2 nd and 4 th groups (reading with their teachers) acted very similarly, responding with simila r numbers of messages and being responsible for approximately 1/3 of the total amount of talk. Though the children show similarities here, they exhibit different behaviors with their mothers. Children in the 1 st group, who read with their early school leav ing mothers, were recorded to have the fewest messages of all groups however within the interaction these children contributed proportionately more talk than their mothers. When coupled with the results from Weigel, Marin and B ennett 2006, this makes sense as mothers may not see joint reading interactions as a time to teach their children they are less likely to talk during reading. Children in the 3 rd group, who read with their tertiary educated mothers contributed the most messages of all four groups, bu t contributed the least to the amount of talk. Again, coupled with the results from Weigel, Marin and Bennett 2006, this coincides with the findings about the : educated mothers take a more active role in reading, and thus are responsible for more talk during interactions. Not only did children have varying amounts of talk, what they talked about and what they did not talk about, was different as well. Children in the 1 st group did not refer to the print of the story or make intertextual connections references to other written material. Children in the 2 nd group exhibited these sorts of messages, though rarely; however they tended to make references to memory and their emotions such as their likes and dislikes. So, children of early school leaving mothers changed their behaviors


16 when reading with teachers. Both the 3 rd and 4 th groups referred to the printed text and made intertexual connections, though the 3 rd group tended to make references to their affect and desires while the 4 th group d iscussed their memories and possessions.. Again, children changed their behaviors depending on who they were reading with. Perhaps this is because mothers would assumedly know what possessions and memories children have, where as teachers do not, and expre ssing emotions and desires maybe more comfortable with a parent. Also, the children of tertiary educated mothers contributed in several ways indicating that they have more strategies for reading interactions. Another aspect of child behavior that Torr insp ected was that of the learning strategies children utilized to gain knowledge about unfamiliar aspects of the text. The learning strategies included some simple tasks like labeling usually providing the name of a noun and description about what is seen in the story. And there were more complex strategies as well: comparison, presenting an analogy between something in the book to something in their life experience; inference, based on what is seen in the text and pictures; generalizations, based on something that is observed in the book; explanations, providing reasons for occurrences in the book; and questioning, which is unique in that it requires social interaction. All four groups of children used labeling, though children reading with their tertiary educ ated moms did so rarely, and description, though children reading with their early school leaving moms did so rarely. Interestingly, children in the 1 st group rarely used other strategies for learning, while children in the 2 nd group rarely used comparison s and generalizations. So again, children of early school leaving mothers changed their behaviors when reading with teachers. The 3 rd and 4 th groups used a pattern of reasoning: making inferences, generalizations and explanations


17 to provide explanations fo oriented than is labeling rd group used more inferences and explanations than the 4 th group did So, children of tertiary educated moth ers used more complex learning strategies than did the children of early school leaving mothers, though they too changed their behaviors when reading with teachers. Lastly, Torr (2006) recorded the types of questions children asked, which were categorize d into three types based on their purpose. The first category is questions asked to specify children showed little difference in how often they asked these types of questions. The next category, asked to confi rm something and based on yes/no responses, were asked the most by children in the 3 rd group. And the last group, asked to explain was asked only by the 3 rd group, with the exception of one time in the 4 th group. So, children had differe nt ways of obtaining information from the person they were reading with, and children reading with their tertiary educated mothers utilized multiple strategies. This study provides several important conclusions about the impact of maternal education on joi nt book reading interactions. First, early school leaving mothers did not see picture book reading as an important literacy practice; instead it was a time for children to listen with limited interaction, primarily through asking labeling questions. Howeve r, other research suggests that children can still enjoy this type of reading and can combat the lack of interaction for example they can create interaction by asking to read the story themselves. Obviously, children were able to interact and engage with t he text in many ways but children in the 3 rd and 4 th groups used more complex, grammatically


18 correct language, and were able to move into abstract, decontextualized discussion while doing so. So, children have many tools at their disposal which shape their literacy experience, but parental approaches to reading, which are influenced by their education, impacts which strategies the child uses both at home and at school. It seems reasonable to conclude that mothers that see reading as more than a social activ ity facilitate their learning strategies and question types. In another study by Torr, she expands upon the above research by investigating how mothers and pre school t eachers differ in the way they introduce new vocabulary or technical words during reading interactions. This study used similar groupings of the study above, with the exception of groups 3 and 4 being switched; so that the 3 rd group consisted of children o f tertiary educated mothers with their teachers and the 4 th group of children reading with their tertiary educated mothers. This study indicated similar results in the amount of talk children produced: the 1 st group the least, the 4 th group the most, and t he 2 nd and 3 rd in the middle and very similar. So again, children change their behavior when reading with teachers. And children reading with their early school leaving mothers talk less while children reading with their tertiary educated mothers talk more again indicating that mothers facilitate reading interactions differently. Interestingly, the strategies adults used to present new vocabulary indicated that pre school teachers and tertiary educated mothers tend to use similar strategies that early scho ol leaving mothers do not. When introducing new vocabulary terms, early school leaving mothers did so while looking at illustrations and without providing a definition or drawing attention to the new word this strategy requires children to interpret the


19 m eaning. This coincides with the tendency of early school leaving mothers to view reading as a time for children to listen, and not a time for teaching. The other three groups did not use this strategy. Groups 2, 3, and 4 introduced the term by using such s commonsense with the technical explanation while providing an explanation, asking for a more technical synonym and asking for or providing formal definitions that draw upon shared background knowledge. Another strategy, utilized primarily by the 4 th group, juxtaposed the new term without providing an explanation to its meaning. So, groups 2, 3, and 4 use many strategies for introducing new vocabulary, where as group 1 did not. Additionally, this research further indicates that tertiary educated mothers see reading as a learning activity; where as early school leaving mothers view it as a task that must be completed. Also it is important to note that teachers differ r elatively little when reading to children, regardless of their maternal education. This may seem to belittle the importance of parent child book reading, in that children will learn strategies and develop their abilities when reading with teachers. However this is not a guarantee, because children that do not attend preschool will have different reading preparation than those who do. So, relying upon teachers to make up for lacking parental strategies is a flawed solution. However, parent strategies may be impacted by more than just education they can be influenced by cultural roles and expectations as well. Hammer et al. (2005) studied the cultural differences in joint book reading interactions of 20 African American and Puerto Rican mother and child dy ads who qualified for Head Start programs. First, they recorded the number of utterances any oral communication produced by each participant during a joint book reading session. There did not seem to be any differences


20 regarding frequency of utterances for mothers or children. However, African American mothers produced 76% of the total number of utterances, while Puerto Rican mothers produced 62% of the total number of utterances (Hammer et al. 2005, 10). So, African American mothers tended to produce a lar ger proportion of the total number of utterances than did Puerto Rican mothers. This suggests that cultural differences can influence the reading strategies parents utilize, which impacts not only how much the parent engages in the conversation but which r eading style and strategies they employ as well. communicative acts produced looking at the meaning or intent behind the oral utterances. They noted that both African American and Puerto Rican mothers' communicative acts were the result of reading directly from the text. The next common communicative act for both groups of mothers was responsive utterances. Both groups of mothers infrequently asked the children to pred ict what would happen in the story (What will happen to the hungry caterpillar once he eats through all the food?) or relate the text to the themselves (Where do you play ball?) Additionally, both groups of mothers asked fewer questions about the text th an did White, middle class mothers of previous studies. Of the questions they asked, they rarely asked children to provide a response, asked yes/no questions, or explain ed the story; neither did they produce attention seeking utterances. In ad child, and this had cultural differences as well. The study looked at two primary strategies used by children. One categorization occurred if a mother asked a child a Wh


21 (who, what, where, when) question expected to provide an answer by pointing or verbalizing. It is important to note that this style encourages children to actively participate in the reading interaction. The second categorization occurred when the mother produced labels/comments while reading, for comprehension based question. Again, it is important to note that this style places the action on the mother s, while children take a passive role. Puerto Rican mothers produced Wh (who, what, where, when) questions as often as they produced labels/comments whereas Afri can American mothers produced Wh (who, what, where, when) questions more often than labels/comments Though it may appear that African American mothers may encourage a more active role for their children they also were responsible for a larger proportion of the total number of utterances, and their children exhibited less assertive actions during reading, in comparison with their Puerto Rican counterparts. So, while African American mothers employed strategies that encourage active participation from the c hildren, the mothers were still taking a central role that may have limited the passive and active strategies may have fostered more active participation from the child ren as the amount of talk was more evenly split between the dyad. The authors suggested that the mothers' choice of communicative acts represent that they are not assuming the role of teacher, and instead engage their children in a cultural practice and st yle of literacy suggesting that reading is as much or more a social activity, as it is an academic one. This conclusion is also supported by the fact that the mothers used reading of books as a social affective time, for example, the majority of


22 the dyads sat in close physical contact. So there is a cultural difference between Puerto Rican and African American mothers, with regards to communicative acts, or literacy strategies. The children's communicative acts differed culturally as well. Puerto Rican chi labels/comments and questions while the African American children responded with labels/comments more frequently than with questions Though these children used different frequencies o f labels/comments and questions they used the utterances with the same intent indicating that mothers in both groups were highly attentive to the book reading content. One statistical difference was that Puerto Rican childr en were assertive with their utterances 2/3 of the time, while African American children were assertive with their utterances only 1/6 of the time (Hammer et al 2005, 3). This suggests that Puerto Rican children, being statistically more assertive, take a more active conversational role during joint reading than do their African American peers. As such, different cultural strategies are not limited to the parental role, but extend s research which indicates that certain strategies are more advanced than others. If certain strategies are integrated into cultural expectations, this provides a particularly difficult challenge for policymakers not only must they teach parents new strate gies, but reach across cultural boundaries as well. However, Saracho in Hispanic Families as Facilitators of Their Children's Literacy provides some inspiration for this daunting task when addressing the reading strategies of Hispanic families. Hispanic families value literacy and believe it is the key


23 to their children's future success (Ada 1988, 2003, as cited by Saracho, 2007). However, Hispanic families have indicated a lower frequency of parent child book reading with young children (Yarosz nd Barnet t 2001 as cited by Fletcher and Reese 2005) and infants (Britto et al. 2002, as cited by Fletcher and Reese 2005). This appears to remain true regardless of maternal education for example, a study of Hispanic mothers with children under the age of 6 report ed that 30% of mothers with BA degrees said they never read to their children, while 48% of mothers who had left high school early said the same (Yarosz and Barnett 2001, as cited by Fletcher and Reese 2005, 88). When Hispanic children do read, they read a lone, with siblings and with their mothers. Additionally, Hispanic kindergarten and first grade children initiated the majority of their home literacy activities (Goldenberg, Reese, & Gallimore, 1992, Mulhern, 1994, as cited by Saracho, 2007). The majority of these literacy interactions involved school materials, suggesting that school was responsible for the children's literacy activity at home. So, providing school materials that encourage advanced strategies for parents and children may be a way to bridg e the cultural differences and because of the cultural value placed on literacy and the multiple opportunities for children to engage in reading interactions, it has potential to be effective. Bus, van Izjendoorn & Pellegrini (1995) conducted a quantitat ive meta anaylsis of the relationship between frequency of parent child book reading at home and several outcome measures. Children from communities of non mainstream culture tend to perform at lower levels of achievement in school (Bus & Sulzby, as cited by Bus, van Izjendoorn and Pellegrini 1995), T he authors of this study hypothesize that parent child book reading may provide a basis for understanding why this occurs.


24 Another variable that affects parent reading style is that of socioeconomic status ( SES). Two studies reported that during reading interactions mothers with higher SES levels utilized more elaborate and diverse language than mothers with lower SES levels (Ninio 1980; Peralta de Mendoza 1995; as cited by Fletcher and Reese 2005). One stud y, by Bus and van Ijzendoorn (1995) even stated that they were unable to find a sample of middle income mothers with low reported frequency of reading (as cited by Fletcher and Reese 2005). These studies indicate that SES may be a primary indicator of par ent child book reading style and frequency. Another study indicated that middle income African American mothers and their children had a higher frequency of looking at books than did low income African American dyads (Hammer 2001, as cited by Fletcher and Reese). This appears to point towards SES as a predictor of fre quency of reading interactions however it may be confounded with other factors, such as maternal education level. However, a study of African American mothers noted that mothers of both low an d middle income had similar behaviors as well as asked few questions when reading with their infants (Hammer 2001, as cited by Fletcher and Reese 2005). So, SES may be an indicator for frequency of reading, but it may not overcome the effects of cultural r eading styles. Also, a study of middle income mothers indicated that White mothers used labeling during reading more often than African American mothers (Haynes and Saunders 1998, as cited by Fletcher and Reese 2005). This further suggests that culture may be a better indicator of parent book reading style than SES. An additional variable that can impact the quality of parent child book reading is the type or level of complexity of the book. One study observed mothers of 2 year olds while reading a narrati ve book and an expository book. While reading narrative books,


25 mothers provided more descriptions, but while reading expository books mothers asked more questions, and provided more labeling and positive feedback (Potter & Haynes 2000, as cited by Fletcher and Reese 2005). Further, a study of African American mothers with their 4 year olds indicated that mothers employed more teaching strategies and children participated more while reading expository books as compared with narrative books (Pellegrini, Perim utter, Galda, and Brody 1990, as cited by Fletcher and Reese 2005). In addition to book type, the complexity of the book has been examined. One study examined book complexity by providing dyads with books with or without text. When the book had no text, bo th the parents as well as their 9 27 month old children had increased language use (Snchal, Cornell et al. 1995, as cited by Fletcher and Reese 2005). Another study built upon this by providing low and middle income dyads text less books with either few simple pictures, or many complex pictures. Results reported that the two SES groups had similar levels of maternal speech while reading the complex book, and while reading the simple book the children participated more the authors suggested that this was b ecause the increased amount of pictures allowed more opportunities for low income mothers to verbalize (Peralta de Mendoza 1995, as cited by Fletcher and Reese 2005). Basically, when reading simple books the child participates more, whereas during readings of complex books the adult participates more So, the complexity of the book can influence parental behaviors during joint reading interaction by providing instances for increased language use and interaction, and parents are able to adjust their strategi es based on book type and complexity. This study brings up the point that parents are not reading alone obviously, children are also participating in the shared reading interaction. Though parental reading


26 style may influence child behavior, children have their own set of attributes that can influence the reading experience as well. As children develop, they are able to participate in reading activity more, studies indicate that they point (Murphy 1978, as cited by Fletcher and Reese 2005), vocalize (Murph y 1978; Snchal, Cornell et al. 1995; as cited by Fletcher and Reese 2005), verbalize (DeLoache and DeMendoza 1987; Wheeler 1983; as cited by Fletcher and Reese 2005) and focus (Snchal, Cornell et al. 1995, as cited by Fletcher and Reese 2005, 81) more during reading interactions as they get older. Further, children help to establish a reading routine by consistently discussing and pointing to specific pictures (Fletcher and Reese 2005). This indicates that child behavior can steer the reading interacti on towards specific topics. However, it is important to note that this type of routine is also shaped by the adult and establishing a routine may be an easier task with some children more than others (Lyytenin et al. 1998; Pellegrini & Galda 2003; Scarboro ugh et al. 1991; as cited by Fletcher and Reese). For example, a 1991 study by Scarborough et al. reported that children with a family history of reading problems were read to less often than their peers without a family history of reading problems (As cit ed by Fletcher and Reese 2005). Though these individual aspects are important, this paper focuses on broader child characteristics that affect parent child book reading interactions. Four primary child characteristics shape the reading interaction: respon siveness, language ability, attention or interest, and attachment. Of course, there are other child characterizes that influence the quality of reading interactions. For example, birth order plays a part in that parents who have younger and older children have different approaches when reading to them individually than when they read together (van Kleeck and Beckley


27 also be a factor one study suggested girl toddlers may be more interest ed in reading overall temperament may be a factor (Frosch et al. 2001, as cited by Fletcher and Reese, 2005), and it can in turn affect several areas including lan guage ability (Karass et al. 2002, as cited by Fletcher and Reese 2005), attention and responsiveness. Though these characteristics are important, they can be encompassed in the four primary characteristics, which is where the focus of research has occured verbal behaviors, has an impact on the reading experience. For example, children from the ages of 9 17 and 24 months that were more vocal, were also asked more questions and given more feedback by t heir parents during reading (Snchal, Cornell et al. 1995; as cited by Fletcher and parents of pre school children with language delays utilize more conversation in share d reading (van Kleeck and Vander Woude 2003, as cited by Fletcher and Reese 2005). The attention or interest of the child in the reading can impact its quality (Karrass et al. 2003; Ortize, Stowe, & Arnold 2001; Snchal, Cornell et al. 1995; as cited by F letcher and Reese 2005). However, studies have indicated that child interest does not correlate with specific parental behaviors (Ortiz et al. 2001; Crain Thoreson and Dale 1992; Laakso et al. 1999; as cited by Fletcher and Reese 2005). And lastly, a child influences the quality of reading as one would assume, securely attached children receive not only higher quality, but also more frequent, shared reading (Bus 2001a; Bus 2001b; Bus et al. 1997; Bus and van Ijzendoorn 1988, 1992, 1997; Frosch et al. 2001; as cited by Fletcher and Reese 2005). And studies indicate that children with insecure


28 attachment become less interested in reading interactions overtime most likely because the interactions are negative and of poor quality and initiate readin g interactions less characteristic of the child but of the relationship in general. However, it affects child development. Because these four characteristics affect the quality of parent child book reading, they also influence the academic benefits children receive, particularly those which concern their language development. Parent reports of their 24 month old interest in books was related to vocabulary skills (Lyytenin et al 1993, Fletcher and Reese 2005), and child engagement at 24 months predicted their language ability at 30 and 54 months as well as their print knowledge at 54 months (Crain Thore son and Dale 1992, as cited by Fletcher and Reese 2005). Also, the reading achievement of 6 year olds was highly correlated with their engagement at 24 months of age (Dale, Crain Thoreson, and Robinson 1995, as cited by Fletcher and Reese 2005). It appear s that these benefits can occur regardless of parental reading ability a study of reading disabled and non reading disabled mothers reading with their 14 month old children reported that child engagement was correlated with language measures at 18 months o f age (Laakso et al. 1999, as cited by Fletcher and Reese 2005). Children who show an interest in reading encourage shared reading interactions with their parents, which results in more frequent reading interactions another aspect that is important to cons ider when assessing parent child book reading interactions. More frequent reading interactions often result in repeated readings of certain books. Though one may think that repeated readings would not be extraordinarily


29 nt, they actually have unique benefits. Repeated readings influence child vocabulary (Snow and Goldfield 1983, as cited by Fletcher and Reese 2005) for example they provide a relevant context for reoccurring experiences with new words (Snchal 1997, as ci te d by Fletcher and Reese 2005 ). Mothers reading with 58 month olds used more descriptions, labeling, predications and inferences when reading unfamiliar books, while they more often made comments about print and general knowledge when reading familiar boo ks (Haden et al. 1996, as cited by Fletcher and Reese 2005). However, another study indicated that references to print during familiar book readings only occurred when children already had a high level of print awareness (Hayden and Fagan 1987 as cite d by Fletcher and Reese 2005 ). Regardless of this information, repeated readings allow the conversation to transcend the plot of the story, it allows for more decontexualized language. Additionally, repeated readings impact the 88, as cited by Fletcher and Reese 2005) often because Snchal 1997; as cited by Fletcher and Reese 2005). Children even repeat text word for word and imitate parental t one (Sulzby 1985; Sulzby and Teale 1987; as cited by Fletcher and Reese 2005). Children also exhibit different behaviors during repeated readings than when reading different or novel books. fferent books versus repeated readings of a particular book. Children in repeated reading situations tended to comment and ask questions about the print more frequently than children who read different stories, though overall children in different reading situations asked more questions (Morrow 1988, as cited by Fletcher and Reese 2005). This could be because


30 children reading the material the first time may have more questions and as they become familiar with the text through repeated readings they are able to comment about the questions change, focusing on the meaning of the story rather than questioning what will happen next (Phillips and McNaughton1990, Fletcher and R eese 2005). Fletcher and Reese (2005) suggest that this allows children to take a more active role in the reading interaction. A 1988 study by Goodsitt et al. encourages this notion, stating that 2 3 and 5 year olds spoke more often when reading fami liar books than novel ones (as cited by Fletcher and Reese 2005). Overall, the responsibility of the book reading begins to transfer from the parent to the child, as the child is able to ask more questions, develop inferen ces, and even read the text. Thu s the parent role shifts from reading to analysis, and they are able to increase the level of abstraction during the interaction (Fletcher and Reese 2005). So, though it may seem logical that reading a specific book over and over would be redundant, it actua lly provides unique benefits for children and parents by providing a new level of discussion. So the goal for policy is not only to promote parent child book reading, but also to investigate the varying strategies to understand how to improve the quality of the shared reading experience. This research has indicated that because of variances across cultures, SES, and parenting styles, it is not enough to merely promote parent child book reading we must also find ways to address these differences and encour age the most beneficial strategies.


31 Chapter 2 : Home Based Parent Child Book Reading Interventions Shared storybook reading has been incorporated into intervention programs to encourage early literacy and language development in children. Though interven tion programs have been conducted both in the school and home settings, this chapter will focus on parent child book reading interventions specifically. Studies indicate that home based interventions can be effective in changing parent behaviors during rea ding as well as fostering expressive and receptive language development in children. Before inspecting parent child book reading intervention programs, it is helpful to provide a quick overview of the tools used to measure measuring their MLU, Mean Length of Utterance basically meaning the length of larger MLUs are seen as an indicator of increased language develo There are three primary standardized tests that are used to measure child receptive and and word comprehension, whereas their expressive skills are re f lected in their vocabulary and ability to speak There are two main measurements of expressive language. One is the Expressive One Word Picture Vocabulary Test, or EOWPVT, in which a child is presented with a picture of a common object and asked to identify it. The second commonly used measurement of expressive language is referred to as ITPA, the verbal expressive section on the Illinois Test of Psycholinguistic Abilities which requires childr en to utilize their descriptive abilities through describing common objects. The Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test Revised, or PPVT


32 abilities, asking children to look at four pictures and point to the one the administrator names. misleading. The tests may not accurately reflect the development of the child (Lonigan and Whitehurst 1998) either overstating their progress or understanding their skills by neglecting to test the areas at which they excel. However, they do allow for comparability that helps to address the effectiveness of intervention programs (Lonigan and Whitehurst 1998) and they are fairly low cost, which is why they are the main meas urement in intervention programs. In 1988, Whitehurst et al. developed an intervention program that aimed to accelerate 2 to use during reading interactions. They describe three p rimary elements of parental reading which they deemed to be associated with increased child language development, and which comprise what they have termed dialogic reading The first technique, known as evocative technique s, encourages the child to take an active and verbal role in the joint reading interaction. This is because studies have suggested that children are able to learn more through language practice which this technique encourages. An example of an child to utilize their language skills more so than, for example, the parent pointing to each picture and stating its name. The second technique, called parental feedback consists of and Epstein 1994, 236) during reading. This encourages language development by providing children with information both about the story and language in general; this is especially beneficial when


33 technique, which stems from the second, is progressive change When parents challenge their child to develop their language skill, they are able to make more progress. To do this, parents must be elements to promoting child language development, not all parents utilize these types of strategies as was d escribed in chapter 1. The Whitehurst et al. 1988 study has become the model for later storybook reading intervention programs. The 1 month, home based intervention centralized around teaching parents to do more than read the text. It encouraged techniqu es that help parents give their children feedback which is informative, allow children an active role in the interaction by encouraging verbal communication, and help parents recognize their g parents to use more than simple yes/no question strategies, the intervention aimed to increase benefits to child language development. This study consisted of experimental and control groups which were tested at the beginning of the treatment and after t he treatment, in addition to 9 months after the completion of the program. Additionally, the intervention chose to combine multiple strategies rather than relying upon a few in hopes of finding strategies that parents would learn and continue to use. Becau se the intervention transfers from the researchers, to the parents, to the children the authors dealt with the difficulty of second hand instruction by requesting that the parents tape record the shared reading interactions. This allowed the researchers to monitor the behaviors of the parents, in addition development, during their joint reading experience.


34 The experimental treatment lasted for four weeks, with parents returning at the first and third week for assignment traini ng. Parents were given calendar like checklists as well as received weekly phone calls to remind them to complete the reading and tape recordings. The trainings consisted of two half hour sessions which began with an explanation of the reading techniques, followed by a demonstration with experimenters role playing the parent and child. Parents were then asked to participate in the role play. The training concluded with a feedback period, and parents were given handouts to help them remember the strategies a nd remind them to complete the reading assignments. Comparing the pre and posttest measurements suggested that children in the experimental group did benefit from the reading intervention. Children in the experimental group were 6 months ahead of the cont rol group on the EOWPVT, and when measured using the ITPA they were 8.5 months ahead of the control. Further, the children in the experimental group had a higher average MLU. Even more impressive, follow up tests 9 months later reported that children in th e experimental group were still an average of 6 months ahead of the control group on the two tests. Analysis of the reading tapes demonstrated that parents reduced their frequency of reading straight through the text and lowered their use of yes/no questio ns. The researchers note that the successes of this intervention with children at normal developmental levels suggest that a similar program could be expanded to help children with language delays improve their skills. The parents were also able to change their behaviors and improve their skills as well. The researchers also noted that though parents were relatively affluent and motivated to participate, they still benefited from the study though traditionally they would be expected to receive minimal benef its from such a program as they are more


35 likely to utilize the reading strategies already. So, the researchers posit that the same intervention could be successful with other SES groups traditionally considered to be at risk and in need of training in read ing strategies as even families with advantages gained from participating. Overall, the study helped set the foundation that parental strategies can encourage language development in children and that interventions can help to bring about this development. However, implementing this program on a larger scale may not be feasible. First of all, it was time consuming requiring multiple m e eting times to train parents and evaluate progress. Also, it required highly trained personnel to lead the instruction, whi ch is expensive. Another hindrance of highly trained personnel is that they may have individual differences in their teaching styles, resulting in a lack of standardization in training sessions. To address these issues, Arnold, Lonigan, Whitehurst, and Eps tein (1994) developed a video training version of the program, and compared it to a control group as well as a group trained without the videotape. If successful, a video tape presentation would allow for a relatively inexpensive program alternative that d oes not require expensive professionally trained instructors, but provides quality, standardized training for parents. This study focused on 2 3 year old children, all with average or above average language skills, and consisted of four meetings over fiv e weeks. The study began with a baseline observation mothers were instructed to read to their children in their normal manner and videotape the interaction at least four times over the first week.Weeks 2 5 of the program differed depending on the group pla cement of the dyad. In the direct training condition the mothers returned for two 20 to 30 minute training sessions on dialogic


36 reading, which included modeling and role playing very similar to the Whitehurst et al. (1988) study. The first session stresse answers with questions, repeat what the child says, help the child as they need it, use training focused specifically on teac hing mothers to ask open ended questions and to mothers were given written outlines of the strategies. In the video condition mothers returned for two shorter sessions ra nging from 15 to 20 minutes. The tapes presented the strategies and an explanation for their importance, followed by examples with real mothers and their children. Showing mothers authentic reading interactions was an alternative to watching role playing t hat was not available in the Whitehurst et al. (1988) study. Rather than having the mothers role play the strategies, the video included a section on common mistakes, which mothers were asked to identify and correct. Finally, the control condition the mot hers also attended two meetings, the first was to discuss the importance of readin g and the second consisted of videotaping reading interactions of the dyads. Before discussing the results of this intervention, it is importan t to note that the program cen tered around increasing specific reading behaviors and not increasing frequency of reading interactions in general which it did not. Though performing at the same level on pre test measurements, t he children in the video group performed significantly bette r than children in the control group on expressive language post tests they were 5.1 months ahead on the EOWPVT and 3.9 months ahead on the ITPA VE. They also scored higher on the PPVT, though not significantly. The direct training group


37 also scored higher on the ITPA VE than the control group. Additionally, the video EOWPVT and the PPVT R, though not significant on the ITPA VE. So, this study provides evidence that video tap e training can provide a low cost, standardized intervention program that can be even more effective than direct training at encouraging parents to utilize dialogic reading strategies. However, Arnold, Lonigan, Whitehurst, and Epstein (1994) discuss the be nefits and drawbacks to creating standardized intervention programs. This study did not replicate the same gains in the direct training group as seen in the Whitehurst et al. (1988) study, suggesting that there was a difference not only in the method of tr aining but also in its content. For example, mothers in this study produced more simple what questions, fewer attrib ute/function questions and fewer phrases than mothers in the Whitehurst et al. (1988) study. These differences are most likely due to variations in trainer style and emphasis. Incorporating standardized video tape training into the intervention could help to diminish these differences and make training more reliable. And, as results indicated, the vide o tape group outperformed the direct training group, this type of intervention could also mean more progress for the participants. Like the Whitehurst et al (1988) study, this intervention also demonstrated that even children who have average or above av erage language skills at the time of intervention, can increase their skills dramatically. Though this could be because the children are better prepared for the benefits of an intervention, it is promising that the intervention had an impact and may also b e able to help children with poorer skills. One


38 suggestion would be to create different videotapes that are tailored to different language development levels and children with language delays, families with different SES levels, and other factors. In thei r 1996 study, Dale and Crain Thoreson developed an intervention program for parents of 3 6 year old children with language delays putting them at the 2 4 year old level. The study began with a videotaped pretest observation where mothers and their children read for 5 minutes and played with toys for 10 minutes. The dyads were given more time for play as the researchers believed the nature of the activity would require a longer amount of time than book reading to gain an adequate representation of their conv ersation. Mothers attended two trainings in either dialogic reading or conversational language, with sessions 3 to 4 weeks apart. The dialogic reading training modeled that of Whitehurst et al. (1988), and families in this group were given books to take ho me at the end of each session. Mothers in the conversational language training viewed videos that promoted two strategies to encourage language development information talk or describing what the child is doing, and expansions upon child utterances. At th e end of each session, mothers in this group received Fisher Price play kits to take home. Both groups went through post testing and videotape sessions of reading and playing as in the pretest. Overall, changes in parent behavior were evident more so durin g the videotaped play session than the reading sessions. There were increases in parent use of wh questions, imitation, and open ended questions all showing greater increases for parents in the dialogic reading group. However, the use of open ended questio ns increased during the play session for the conversational language group, and in the reading session for the


39 expansions also largely increased, though only during reading sessions. So, parents could be taught to use these strategies during reading as well as during playtime, which could be a way to expand interventions and provide further benefits to child development. One goal was to teach parents to give their children en ough time to answer questions before moving on, however neither of the groups showed change in this behavior. The intervention also had impacts on child behavior during reading. Overall analysis suggested that children were engaged in the activities. Chi ldren in the dialogic which corresponds with the increase in parent use of wh child behavior were overall more apparent during the play sessi ons than the reading sessions. During the play sessions, children increased the number of words they used, while decreasing their questions. But during the reading sessions, children from the dialogic reading group increased their total number of utterance s, while children from the conversational language group decreased their total number of utterances. However, during the play session total number of utterances decreased for both groups. Again, play sessions provide another place for children to practice and expand their language skills. Another important finding of this study was that depending on the skills children had at the beginning of the program, they received different benefits from the dialogic reading program. Children with lower language skills developed their vocabulary and increased their amount of talk, where as children with higher language skills increased their understanding of grammar.


40 Results suggested that if parents changed their behavior, their children were more likely to change th eir behavior and language as well. Children in the dialogic reading group whose parents increased their usage of yes/no and what/who questions, as well as allowed their children time to respond to questions, had increased engagement during interactions. On the other hand, children in the conversational language group whose parents increased their use of who/what questions and information talk, had greater increases in vocabulary. Overall, children whose parents allowed them more time to answer questions had greater increased in MLU. So, different strategies resulted in diverse benefits for the children. Though this study impacted child and adult behavior, the authors suggest improvement can be made in several areas. First, because the intervention covered only a short 2 month period, a post test a few months after the intervention could help to determine if the program had substantial long term benefits for children with language delays. Further, the program did not monitor reading interactions at home. Be cause changes in parent behavior were more likely to be accompanied by changes in child behavior, having a home based portion of the program could have encouraged the strategies at home and in turn could have resulted in greater increases in child language development. Further, the authors suggest that teaching parents to give their child more time to answer questions is an essential part of fostering child language growth parents asking the questions only does so much, the child needs to have experience ut ilizing language to provide an answer. This tactic may need greater emphasis in future interventions, however it may not be essential, as benefits were still noted from the intervention. Surprisingly, changes in behavior were more likely to be observed dur ing


41 the play session than the reading session, regardless of which group the dyads were in. This demonstrates that benefits to child language reach beyond the reading interaction, and that perhaps previous studies only monitoring changes in book reading in teractions have underestimated the benefits from such strategies. Overall, this study expands intervention research to children with developmental delays, and further suggests that vocabulary development can be fostered through dialogic reading. Cronan, Cr uz, and Arriaga (1996) provide an excellent transition to research that has centralized around improving the language development of at risk students. They developed a parent child reading intervention program aimed at improving low income, ethnic children had one child, preferably 4 years of age, in the Head Start program and one child who was 1, 2, or 3 years old. The families met with a tutor for instructional visits 18 (high interven tion), 3 (low intervention) or 0 (no intervention) times over the course of the intervention. In the intervention groups, tutors demonstrated the reading strategies by reading to the child, and then asked parents to model the behaviors with their own child Arriaga 1996, 256) for example the basic colors and the session ended with singing a song. The parents were instructed to read to their children daily, and encouraged to both talk with their children during reading, and ask their child questions that required answers differed slightly, asking parents to begin by making pointing req uests and asking labeling questions, while parents with older children were trained to move to more advanced


42 that there would be a designated place for books in the h ome. In addition, the intervention groups, as well as the control group, participated in four assessment sessions of approximately one hour which consisted of both testing as well as videotaping of reading interactions, and three instructional visits whi ch were also videotaped. Two of the assessment sessions were conducted at the beginning of the intervention and two were conducted at the end. Further, the parents were tested using the Gates MacGinitie Reading Test to assess their ability to read and comp rehend written passages, and they were asked questions about their reading activity with their children. After each visit, a book was left in the home to provide incentive for continued participation. Overall, parents showed differences in their reading interactions with their children as well as other literacy related activities. The parents in the high intervention group increased the likelihood of reading interaction in the past week, were more likely to have an established reading time, read longer, a nd ask ed their children more questions. In the low intervention group, parents also increased their likelihood of having read to their children in the past week. Parents in both high and low interventions significantly increased the number of concepts they taught their children, and the frequency of using their library cards, in comparison with the control group parents. Parents in the high intervention also increased the likelihood of visiting the library with their children in the past week, and the numbe r of books they checked out for their children and themselves. The intervention had important influences on children as well as the parents. One to two year old children in the high intervention increased their language comprehension


43 skills significantly more than their peers in the control condition. Further, children in the high intervention had higher ability to use irregular words as well as increased their overall vocabulary and language complexity after the intervention. Child scores also correlated with parental behaviors: children whose parents reported increased visits to the library tended to have higher language comprehension, and parents in the high intervention reported more visits to the library. Though it could be that parents of children wit h higher language comprehension chose to take their children to the library more often, this correlation suggests that the intervention played a role in increasing the number of library visits. This program expanded shared reading interventions to children with low language skills. Its positive outcomes suggest that interventions, especially when intensive and including frequent meetings, can impact parent behavior and child development. The authors suggest that the benefits of the program may even be more powerful than the results suggest as children in the control group, though not participating in an intentional intervention, may have had increased skills because they received books and assessments which brought attention to joint reading interactions. T he study did not include a post test after the intervention had been completed for a significant amount of time, so it is uncertain whether or not parents continued to use the strategies they learned. If parents did continue using the intervention strategi es, there may have been continued benefits to child development not measured by the study. When compared to the Whitehurst et al. (1988) study, which required 1 hour of parent training over a 6 week period, this intervention was much more time intensive. O ver a 7 month period, both groups completed 2 hours of assessments, while the low


44 intervention group completed an additional 1.5 hours of instructional training and the high intervention group completed an additional 7 hours of instructional training. The authors suggest that the increased time is necessary as there were increased benefits seen in the high programs would be much less than the current costs of low literacy and its a ssociated help the parents continue to utilize the strategies over time. However, the au thors reported they would eliminate the Gates MacGinitie Reading Test, as many parents seemed to feel threatened by it either declining to take it or putting little effort into it. Another study expands upon some of the questions raised by Cronan, Cruz, a nd Arriaga 1996, particularly about interventions with low SES families and the importance of booster sessions. The study consisted of 5 low SES dyads, and aimed to expand parent usage of decontextualized language during shared reading interactions with th eir 3 4 year old children (Morgan and Goldstein 2004). The mothers were selected because they exhibited low numbers of verbalizations during joint book reading. Four types of training were utilized, and after each session the dyads received a book and a t ape for recording. The first training provided mothers information on the relationship between storybook reading and child language and literacy development, and the subsequent impact on later school performance. Parents were also taught to use tape record ers for their sessions. Before the 2 nd training, a baseline examination was conducted. The second training encouraged three specific decontextualized language strategies. The first strategy, termed text to life utterances encouraged parents to relate


45 the caterpillar, the parent could ask their child about their favorite foods. The second strategy, explanatory talk promoted providing explanations and definitions for the child. A nd the third strategy, interpretation required asking children to predict the story or step process. During the training, parents were first given a definition of the strategy, followed by a video demonstration, after which the interviewer exhibited the strategies. Next, mothers were given the opportunity to practice the strategies; they read storybooks with sticky note reminders to help guide them through the process. Finally, mothers re ad to their children without the reminders. Mothers were able to move on from a strategy once researchers had witnessed it being used six times during a session and parents were encouraged to use six as a goal for each strategy during each reading session. After learning a strategy, mothers received laminated guidelines of the strategy as a reminder, and were reminded to continue to use a combination of all the strategies. The third type of training utilized in this study was continued weekly feedback. Each week, researchers reviewed the audio recorded reading interactions and gave mothers advice regarding their strategy use. If mothers use of a strategy was below 6 occurrences for two consecutive sessions it was reviewed at this time. The final training emp loyed in this study was that of booster sessions, unfortunately only two of the mothers participated in these sessions, so they do not provide extensive information. The booster sessions served as a closing session which helped mothers to review the strate gies, gave further advice about how to use successfully combine the strategies, and provided booklets of storybook pages with examples of the strategies.


46 with the intervention, however as new strategies were introduced, their usage of the previous strategies fell. This resulted in an initial drop in the use of the first strategy when the second was introduced, and a further drop in both the first and second when the third strateg y was introduced. However, the mothers who participated in the booster sessions were able to successfully maintain elevated levels of all strategies. Benefits to the decontextua lized language, though less so than their mothers. Children also initiated more talk, and the dyads had more talk during reading overall. The dyads utilized the text to life strategy the most, while explanatory talk was used least frequently. Furthermore, So, this study suggests that mothers of lower SES can indeed learn strategies to encourage decontextualized language during storybook reading, which increases the because the dyads showed limited or no evidence of decontextualized language during their shared reading interact ions during the baseline period. Another interesting point was that explanatory talk, the least used strategy, tended not to result in discussion or and Goldstein 2004, 248). So, th is strategy may not be as important for increasing decontextualized language abilities in children. Additionally, the preference for the text to life strategy may be because it is a more natural way of using decontextualized language as it allows for conve rsation about familiar topics. Further, this study


47 encouraged the use of booster sessions the authors noted that the combination of learning new strategies as well as reading unfamiliar books could be challenging for the mothers, and a review session could allow them to solidify the concepts. Follow up sessions a month later reported that mothers were able to maintain the use of strategies and incorporate them into reading interactions. One interesting point was that two of the children decreased their freq uency of initiating conversation, which could have been due to increases in the mothers initiations or due to the children being able to listen longer. Though this study provided important information regarding the implementation of intervention programs w ith low SES mothers and their children, it also required a great deal of time, for example weekly phone calls, which suggests that low SES individuals may require more intensive programs. However, another study aimed to utilize the less time intensive di alogic reading intervention within a low income community (Huebner 2000). This study worked with parents of 2 3 year old children in two different low income communities recruited from family care centers. The first community, referred to as FC, consisted primarily of families receiving financial assistance from the government typically single parents or unemployed families and had mostly white, non latino residents. The second community, referred to as NL, was characterized as a high crime area with elevat ed levels of unemployment. All of the mothers from this area that participated in this study were opportunity for all families and not stigmatized as a remedial progra m for families and likely to read to their children due to economic and educational constraints.


48 This intervention was similar to the Whitehurst et al. 1988 study and ce nt ered around teaching dialogic reading techniques. The intervention lasted about 6 weeks, with the mothers spending 3 weeks on each set of strategies. First, the group discussed the benefits of joint reading interactions, then watched a training video and formed pairs for one to one training. At the end of each session, there was time to ask questions. Parents were given reminder sheets of the strategies, reading logs to monitor their reading frequency, and a magnet so that they may display the log at home The trainings were held in the home or day care center, where childcare was provided. The families received a book after e ach parent training session and after the last data collection. After completing the intervention, parents were presented with a ce rtificate of excellence. The baseline data reported that mothers in the study were typically low income and education levels, had books in the home but read with their children rarely, and may be behind. After the intervention, child interest in reading increased as parents were more likely to list reading reported reading with their children freque ntly doubled. However, other literacy related activities outside the home, like library visits, were not affected. Child vocabulary was not measured in this study; however sentence level skills, measured by parent report, indicated that some children began grew as well. This study also included important components outside of the training sessions. For example, a unique aspect of this study was that the participating child care facilities in each community received $3000 for their participation in the study. The facility in the


49 NL community used the money to purchase cell phones for family center staff members as the area had a high crime rate as well as held a celebration for parents following completion o f the study. The facility in the FC community created parent child book nooks, hired a part time dialogic reading instructor, and funded training and supplies necessary for the continuation of the reading program. Though monetary rewards are not always a f easible aspect of intervention, these projects provide examples of other ways to promote literacy and encourage continuation of the program beyond implementing booster sessions. Additionally, researchers asked for parent feedback about participating in t he intervention. Parents reported that they enjoyed participating and would continue to use the dialogic reading skills they had acquired in the program. Being physically close and spending time with their children, receiving books as well as directly help ing their child learn were some specific things parents liked. Also, researchers learned that other family members benefited from the program as mothers reported that siblings and fathers joined in conversations about the books. The main difficulty reporte d about the program was that parents found it difficult to change their behavior and switch from their old strategies to the new ones. Additionally, parents suggested that they would have benefited from receiving more books. There are other cautions about this intervention that the researchers note. Though the program worked with low income families, the parents participated of their own accord so the same results may not be representative of all low income families. This is primarily due to the fact that the intervention relies upon parental commitment both to learn the strategies as well as to implement the reading in the home if parents are not


50 motivated to complete the tasks, the results would most likely be very different. However, the program incorpor ated several features that could help parents stay motivated, for example supplying reading logs and magnets to organize their time, and providing child care at the training sessions. Further, framing the intervention as a positive, special experience for the parents can help to attract parents that may not be interested in intervention programs. The parent feedback could help give the best way to advertise the program as a special opportunity that helps children develop as well as provides a fun bonding ac tivity. Another program (Fielding Barnsley and Purdie 2003) also based on dialogic reading, aimed to implement a program with at risk 5 to 6 year old children that was simple as well as low cost. Children were nominated by their parents to participate in the study, and to be considered at risk, one or more members of the family had a reading year at Time 1, and again at the end of the school year at Time 2 for both the experimental as w ell as the control groups. For the experimental group, t raining sessions were led by a research assistant and began with parents viewing a video in the home. The parents received a pamphlet with information from the video, along with 8 books and a reading log. Research instructed parents to read each book with their children a mini mum of 5 times during the 8 week intervention. After the two testing times and the original intervention portion of the program were completed, the control group was invited to pa rticipate in the program. Results indicated that children in the experimental group showed significant improvement over their control group peers in several areas. At Time 1, they scored


51 significantly higher on the PPVT and rhyme tests, as well as initial consonant tests which ask children to identify the first sound of a word. Further, children in the experimental group scored higher on the CAP concepts about print test which ike book orientation and which direction words are read. However, there was no difference between the knowledge of final consonants and alphabet knowledge between the experimental and control groups. Though the study did not include baseline measurements o f the children, this improvement suggests that children in the experimental condition showed improvement due to the program. This is further suggested by the scores at Time 2; both groups improved, however the experimental group performed significantly hig her on the CAP and had increased knowledge of final consonants. Furthermore, the experimental group maintained its advantage over the control in measures of skills like final consonant and print concept as well as tests on reading, even a year later. The a verage number of readings parents reported reading was 6.5 though asked to read only 5 which suggests that the amount of time needed for the intervention was not hindering to the parents. This study provides an example of intervention for at risk children that is both relatively low cost as well as simple to implement. It is important to note that the Huebner (2000) study utilized other factors than family member reading difficulty to determine if families were at risk primarily SES and so these results may not be applicable to all at risk families. However, the above studies require families to volunteer to participate, and may not reach families that could benefit the most from an intervention program. Of course, forcing families to participate in program s is not a feasible option, but the following two


52 studies present alternative means of reaching at risk families through pediatric check ups and library programs. One study (High, Hopmann, and Linn 1998) took a different approach, having pediatric provider s implement an intervention program with low income families and their 1 ups, parents were given storybooks and information on the importance of book reading, when to read to children, and strategies for doing s o. Primarily, parents were told that reading to children before bedtime could help them to fall asleep alone as well as stay asleep. Additionally, parents were told that children being able to fall asleep in their own beds would have fewer instances of bed time struggles and waking later in the night. After the program, the intervention group reported more positive literacy related responses than the control group. For example, they were more likely to list reading as activities. Additionally, the parents in the intervention group reported that they read storybooks at bedtime more frequently. These effects were more substantial in specific sub groups that would not traditionally be seen as participating in literacy act ivities on their own for example parents with lower education levels, single or separated parents, and Hispanic families. However, the intervention did not affect bedtime struggles which were associated with younger parent age and fewer kids in the home. T his could also be because by the time children participated in the program, their sleep patterns had already been solidified. The authors a stronger emphasis on child ren learning to fall asleep alone and that it should begin by 4


53 Overall, the study provides important information in that it suggests that parents and children in subgroups traditionally considered to be at risk, benefited the most from the intervention. Further, the study provided another angle from which to approach interventions that could encourage parent participation and dedication. The study promoted the link between storybook reading at bedtime an d fewer bedtime struggles The link between storybook reading at bedtime and less bedtime struggles was no t a factor in the present study. However because previous research has indicated this link, developing this portion of the program could provide incen tive for parents who are having difficulty at bedtime to try shared reading. And having a focus on bedtime book reading allowed the study to establish a specific time for book reading which is a common problem when trying to acknowledge parent time constra ints. A second study worked with 2 year old s and their families through the city public library system. Prior to the intervention, families were asked to complete pre tests and audio taped readings, and were eligible to continue if they read to their chi ldren at least 4 their children everyday they received weekly telephone reminders to do so. The dialogic reading training consisting of two training sessions of one hour three weeks apart reading through the text, pointing, simple yes/no questions, and criticism, while increasing evocative techniques. Parents viewed a video overview of the techniques, which was followed by demonstrations which the parents were asked to critique. The parents were asked to role play the scenarios and evaluate the interactions. At the end, parents were given a review of the techniques and told to use the strate gies with their


54 children 5 10 minutes a day. The comparison group also attended two one hour sessions, where a librarian discussed storybooks and provided crafts that related to the storybook content. A copy of the book was then given to families. Parents in the dialogic reading group increased their use of the dialogic strategies by 2.5 times, and decreased the unwanted behaviors by two thirds. The children in the dialogic reading group increased their multiword utterances, one word utterances, and MLUs. So, children spoke more frequently and used more words. Though children in the dialogic reading group did not have significantly higher scores on the PPVT or EOWPVT, they had significantly higher scores on the ITPA than did their comparison group counterpa rts. However this advantage disappeared at the follow up testing 3 months later. The experimenters suggest that this change occurred because parents in the comparison group were exposed to dialogic reading techniques after the intervention phase as analysi s revealed their use of the strategies increased for the first time at the follow up. So, the loss of an advantage by the experimental group was presumably due to increased use of the strategies by the control group, rather than a lack of progress by the e xperimental group. Though the study included relatively few families of low SES, through questionnaires they learned the best strategies for reaching parents of different SES levels. The study primarily utilized passive techniques such as ads in the news paper and grocery store bulletin boards which successfully attracted mixed income families. However, low SES families reported coming to the program because they were approached by those involved with the study suggesting that establishing a relationship i s an integral part of including low income families in intervention programs. Though it


55 would take more time and resources to implement a program that recruits parents directly through in person interactions, it would be a way to include families that may not have been reached by previous interventions. Another important variable that this study explored was parent stress level and its relationship with the intervention program. The parents were most likely to report high stress levels if they were in the comparison group and the main stressors they reported because it offers parents a way to let their child practice autonomy and independence within a developmentally appropriate and widely valued context: This would hopefully help to establish a better relationship between the parent and child, leading to additi onal positive reading interactions, which research suggests would further child development. In conclusion, intervention programs have successfully utilized parent child book reading as a strategy for improving child language development Dialogic readin g has been the prominent model for these interventions, teaching parents strategies which encourage children to take an active role in the reading experience. Researchers mentioned that for widespread intervention to be feasible, it must be inexpensive, ea sy to implement, and aware of parent time constraints. The above research has indicated that parents can learn dialogic reading techniques from videotape demonstrations, which allows for a cost effective implementation. Additionally, the videotape method a llows for different versions which can be tailored to the group for example, creating different tapes for children of low or high language skills at the beginning of the intervention. Further, the length of intervention and number of training sessions can be manipulated to


56 take into account limitations on parent time. Also, interventions that are described as a special opportunity, rather than a remedial class, and that are able to contact parents directly, can help to draw in families that may otherwise be overlooked and which may benefit the most from intervention. The research also indicates that intervention programs need not be implemented by highly trained professionals programs can reach parents through daycare centers, pediatric clinics, and public l ibraries. But most importantly, intervention programs that target parent child reading interactions can change parent and child behavior, and in turn foster child development.


57 Chapter 3 : Classroom Based Adult Child Reading Interventions Thoug h parent child book reading has many benefits, it requires dedication and time from busy parents. Research has suggested that intervention programs can be effective in the home, but it is practical to also explore the efficacy of interventions in the class room. Classroom and at home interventions can be compared to determine if a home based component is necessary, or if school based programs can garner the same benefits to child development without involving parents. Though classroom interventions are influ ential, studies indicate that a home based component in combination with classroom intervention provides the greatest benefits for young children. Lonigan et al. (1999) developed a program that targeted oral language skills, phonological awareness and lis tening comprehension for at risk children in child care centers for low income families. The study spanned two school years and consisted of two waves. Children were placed in one of three conditions: typical shared reading, dialogic reading, and no treatm ent control. In the reading conditions, children were read to in groups of 3 to 5 for 10 to 15 minutes each day by an undergraduate volunteer. In the typical shared reading, volunteers read two books by simply reading the text, making comments about pictur dialogic reading sessions, volunteers followed the method set by Whitehurst et al. (1988), and read only one book due to the increased amount of discussion during reading. s scores on the EOWPVT R increased regardless of the group they were in. However, scores on the ITPA VE showed greater increases for the children in the reading intervention groups than the no treatment group, but did not differ between the reading groups. But the descriptive language skills of children in the typical


58 reading group increased 2.5 months more than the no treatment group, while children in the dialogic reading group increased by 5.4 months more. This means that the language development of chi ldren in the intervention groups were 2.5 and 5.4 months ahead of their peers in the no treatment group, though the children were the same age. This study also utilized the Woodcock Johnson Psychoeducational Battery (WJ LC), which presents children with a combined intervention groups had greater increases in their scores on this measurement than the children in the no treatment group. However, when separated the typical reading group ha d greater increases than the no treatment group, while the dialogic reading group did not. The researchers also tested child knowledge of alliteration which followed the pattern of the WJ LC, with the combined intervention groups having greater increases t han the no treatment group, but only the typical reading group having greater scores than the no treatment group, when separated. All children, despite group placement, showed increases in sound blending being able to put sounds together to make a new word and elision tasks being able to say a word while leaving out a specified sound. Overall, the intervention suggests that a shared reading intervention in the classroom can have effects on the language development of low income preschoolers. However, the skills affected depend on the reading style. Typical reading increased listening comprehension and alliteration detection. On the other hand, dialogic reading child ren in the typical reading intervention were focusing on the words and written the dialogic reading intervention. Further, the authors suggest that the greater increa se in


59 listening comprehension skills in the typical reading group could be because children in the reader, whereas in small group dialogic reading, children need t o attend mostly when it may be beneficial for children to have experience with both types of reading possibly beginning with typical reading to establish good l istening skills and moving to the interactive dialogic reading style. Additionally, typical reading, which has fewer demands on teachers and allows for greater group numbers, could increase teacher willingness to participate and may be a more feasible way to enhance the development of at risk students in the classroom. But the researchers caution that this strategy may not be as effective at enhancing the language skills of children as they would not be actively utilizing language. One strategy to combat th is difficulty would be to include children with and without language delays in the same program which would provide modeling for children with language delays. Lastly, the authors comment that the classroom interventions do not allow children the individua l attention and as many chances to participate in reading as do at home interventions with parents. Further, home based interventions have the benefit of permeating parent child exchanges and additionally influencing development. Another intervention (Re ese and Cox 1999) expanded upon the impacts of various reading styles within the classroom working with 4 year old children from primarily working class backgrounds over the course of 6 weeks. The study focused on three styles describer, comprehender and p erformance oriented which the readers implemented via predetermined scripts. Readers using the describer style asked children


60 five questions and made five comments during the reading primarily discussing the pictures through labels and description. In the comprehender style, the readers also asked give questions and made five comments, however the content focused on making inferences and the emotions of the characters. Performance oriented style readers began the session with five comments about the story, creating somewhat of a summary of the plot, and ended with asking the children to make five inferences and evaluatives. When asking the child to make what the study termed an evaluation the reader may ask the did not expand the discussion. Over the 6 week period, researchers read 32 of 36 books to children in a quiet place in the da ycare center. The researchers analyzed the benefits to child development on three levels, vocabulary development, print skills, and story comprehension. Results indicate d that th e onset of the intervention was related to their vo cabulary advancement. Children in the describer condition exhibited significantly greater vocabulary advances than did children in the performance oriented group while childre n in the comprehender group did not differ significantly from either of the other two styles. However, children with higher vocabularies at the start of the intervention showed greater increases when in the performance oriented style than the describer sty le though again the comprehender style did not significantly differ from either group. On the other hand, children with lower vocabulary levels at the start of the program showed the greatest gains when in the describer group. Overall, the greatest gains i n


61 vocabulary were made by children in the describer style group when compared with the performance igher print skills at the start benefited most from the describer condition in comparison with the performance oriented condition, where as children who had lower skills at the start benefited most from the performance oriented condition. Overall, childre n in the describer group had significantly larger gains than children in the comprehender group while the performance oriented group did not differ significantly from either of the other two groups. Despite these correlations, there did not appear to be an y impact of reading style on story comprehension skills. describer style of reading. However, this was primarily for children whose initial level of vocabulary was low; so it levels and increase to other styles as time goes on. The authors also suggest that the which draw attention to the book may make the child more aware of print. Again, this can not benefit from this opportunity. Classroom based interventions include many children of various levels, in comparison with home based interventions which allow for individual attention, and thus face a unique dilemma in being flexible and customizable Of course, there are other strategies that can be utilized in the classr oom for


62 and Smith (1990, as cited by Karweit and Wasik 1996) developed an intervention program for at risk kindergarteners which required 60 minutes of reading and related activities each day. The program had four components: quiet reading, teacher led activities, leisure reading, and end of the day synopsis. Results indicated that children rec eptive and expressive language benefits were not included in the analysis, this program suggests that increased exposure to reading activities can help children develop an interest in reading as well as an understanding of story structure. Additionally, El ley (1989 as cited by Karweit and Wasik 1996) explored how to increase vocabulary acquisition during group reading. The program consisted of three groups, a control, a group where teachers explained new vocabulary words, and a group were teachers did not e xplain the new words. Teachers in the explanation group were told to use synonyms, role playing, and pointing to illustrations to help children learn the new words. Results indicated that children in the explanation group learned more new vocabulary words than children in the other two groups. So, enabling readers to explain vocabulary during group reading can help child vocabulary development. Another strategy commonly utilized is creating special books to use during group reading interactions. McCormick a nd Mason (1989, as cited by Karweit and Wasik 1996) developed little books which are short books consisting of pictures and minimal text. These books provide children with opportunities in three specific areas: word identification based on illustrations, r ecognition of a multitude of words, and phonological awareness. The intervention lasted 2 years and split children into two groups, one in which children were encouraged to recite the text, or recitation group, and


63 another in which the focus during reading was the illustrations and afterwards children were asked to retell the story. Children in the recitation group performed significantly better than the children in the discussion group on measures such as the PPVT R. So, reciting text has benefits on its o wn. Another study (Mautte 1990 as cited by Karweit and Wasik 1996) utilized big books in a 20 week long intervention which targeted at risk kindergarteners. The intervention consisted of three groups, a control, a group which read the big books three times and a group which read the books repeatedly with discussion before, during, and after the reading. The two intervention groups read three times a week for 25 minutes each time. The repeated reading and discussion group had significantly greater gains tha n the other two groups on language development. This suggests that repeated readings can also have an effect on intervention success. However, the most prominent strategy utilized is that of dialogic reading, which aims to increase specific skills for chi ldren. Valdez Menchaca and Whitehurst (1992) created a 6 to 7 week program for accelerating language development in 2 year old children from working class, low income backgrounds. Children in the experimental condition were read to one on one in variation of the dialogic reading style (Whitehurst et al. 1988) thirty times for 10 to 12 minutes by a graduate student. In addition to the dialogic reading strategies, readers asked the children to tell the story for example, they would begin each page with an ope n ended question Valdez Menchaca and Whitehurst 1992). Readers would wait for children to respond, expanded on what the children said, and prompted them to continue telling the story. When children did not respond, readers modeled the behavior and encouraged the child to copy them and when they did, the teachers praised and expanded upon it. Additionally,


64 the readers did not read text word for word during the sessions. During the first two weeks children became acquainted with the five books used in the program, and were allowed to pick which book they wanted to read. After 11 sessions, the children were expected to increase their verbal participation pointing was no longer an acceptable response, and readers would respond with open ended questions to encourage child speech. Children in the control condition worked one on one with a graduate student and participated in tasks that targeted their perceptual and fine motor skills, like puzzles and using scissors. But children in the con trol group received no specific attention to encourage language. All children completed pre test and post test assessments, as well as were videotaped looking at a book with a research assistant. R, and ITPA indicated a group effect. The experimental group had significantly higher scores on the EOWPVT and ITPA than the control group. Children in the experimental group were 3.3 months ahead on the PPVT R, 8.2 months ahead on the ITPA, and 7.3 months ahead on the EOWPVT. Further, analysis of the post test reading interactions indicated that children in the experimental group had a greater number of utterances than the control group. In used a greater number of different nouns and verbs than those of the control group. So, this study suggests that child language development can be accelerated via dialogic style reading in the classroom. However, the intervention was one on one and may not be feasible to implement in classrooms and daycare centers which have higher teacher student ratios. Another concern was that the readers were trained graduate students however other studies (e.g. Whitehurst et al. 1988) suggest that the dialogic reading styl e


65 can be taught to adults in short amounts of time. Despite the benefits of dialogic reading observed in this intervention, it is not certain whether dialogic reading is more beneficial than other reading styles. In 2000, Hargrave and Snchal developed a program aimed at improving the vocabularies of 3 to 5 year old children with poor vocabularies through reading in either a dialogic style or a regular reading style over a 4 week period. Additionally, 78% of the inco me backgrounds, agreed to participate in a home based portion of the program. Parents and teachers in the dialogic reading group were trained in a one hour group session, consisting of an introduction to the style, 30 minute video, and a role play and disc ussion portion. Parents and teachers in the regular reading group were simply asked to read to their children in the regular fashion. Parents of children at the dialogic reading day care center were placed in the dialogic reading group, while parents with children at the regular reading center were placed in that group. At the end of the training, adults received an overview of the strategies, while teachers also received logbooks to keep track the number of times they read each book. Teachers were instruc ted to read to their students a minimum of 10 minutes a day and to read each book twice. Regardless of group placement, children were read the same ten books in small groups, and each book was read two times. Reading in small groups enabled the program to maintain the typical 1:8 ratio that is required in preschools. Daycare centers were provided with 5 books the first two weeks of the intervention, and then switched books for the second two weeks though teachers were reminded that other books could be read throughout the day as well.


66 Participating parents were also asked to read to their children at least 10 minutes a day, and to read each book five times during the week. Over the course of the intervention, parents in the dialogic reading group were given at most four books not provided to the centers as they were required to return books before receiving another. At the completion of the program parents were asked to rate which books they were the regular reading group were provided with the opportunity to attend dialogic reading training sessions after the completion of the study. Teachers in the dialogic reading group were able to change their reading style and began to exhibit dialogic readi ng strategies. At the dialogic reading center, teachers using this strategy twelve times as much as teachers in the regular reading group. Further, teachers in the dialogic reading g roup repeated child utterances more often which teachers in the regular reading group were not observed doing and praised children six times more often than teachers in the regular reading group. cement, with the dialogic reading group experiencing greater increases than the control group; particularly for expressive rather than receptive skills. Children in the dialogic reading group had greater expressive vocabulary scores at the end of the inter vention than their regular reading group counterparts. However, further analysis suggested that children in the regular reading group did increase their knowledge of new words. The results from the home based portion of the reading intervention were limite d, but suggested that parents were able to read the books to their children and that the children enjoyed the books. Overall,


67 children in the dialogic reading condition increased their expressive vocabulary by four months just during the four week period. This study added to intervention research in several specific ways. First, the study adhered to teacher student ratios as it was conducted with small groups, which allows classroom interventions to be more feasible. Further, the intervention training was conducted in one session, rather than split into two which was the original training method. So, this study puts forth that parents and teachers can acquire these strategies in shorter amounts of time than previously thought. Additionally, since children in the dialogic reading increased their skills by several months over the period of the intervention, this study suggests that utilizing these strategies for longer periods could encourage further development. Surprisingly, the program did not appear to ha ve an which the researchers suggest is due to problems with tests not examining the specific vocabulary children were exposed to. As a caution, the authors noted that children in the dialogic reading group were read to for longer periods of time and had fewer absences than children in the regular reading group. However, dialogic reading is by its nature a longer process than regular reading, so this is to be expected. Also, this study did not provide an adequate compa rison of the school based and classroom based portions of the intervention. Another study (Karweit 1989, as cited by Karweit and Wasik 1996) provides further support for large group shared reading interventions with low income children. The study used the Story Telling and Retelling (STaR) program, which tries to actively engage children in the story telling process, and was conducted using a 1:15 ratio. Each week, two stories were introduced each in a two day cycle. On the first day, the book


68 was introduc ed, read and discussed, and on the second day vocabulary from the story was reviewed, and the plot was retold using sequence cards and dramatic play in which all children participated. At the end of the intervention, children had positive effects on both r eceptive and expressive language as well as story comprehension knowledge. So, this study puts forth that benefits can be possible in the classroom with larger groups. Morrow and Smith (1990, as cited by Karweit and Wasik 1996) support this finding. They d eveloped a reading intervention program for kindergarten and 1 st graders who participated one on one, in groups of three or in groups of 15 or more. Each group read three stories in nine sessions, and children were asked comprehension questions that focuse d on plot, characters and setting. Every session ended with a discussion where children were able to discuss the story and ask questions. Results indicated that one on one, children made more comments and questions than children in the other groups, and th at adults did not have to redirect children to the story as often in the one on one setting. Additionally, adults in the small group spent less time making negative comments and redirecting discussion than in the larger group. So, small group and one on on e conditions provide children with more opportunities to participate in discussion as well as allow adults to avoid negative responses and spending time on redirection. However, these studies did not provide groups for comparison. Whitehurst et al. (199 4) explored the effects of three shared reading interventions at school only, both at home and at school, and a control on the language development of children. The 6 week long intervention targeted 3 year old children with language delays from low income backgrounds. Teachers and parents were trained to use the dialogic reading method via the video tape model however they met


69 for two sessions of 30 and 20 minutes each. Teachers were instructed to read approximately 10 minutes a day to groups of five childr en or less. Children in the school plus home group were also read to by their parents, and urged to read to their children daily. Families received books to take home that were also given to the centers, and both parents and teachers were given daily readi ng logs to monitor when and what books were read. Children in the control group participated in small group activities for 10 minutes each day. Teachers monitored the play sessions and completed logs of the activities children participated in. During the i ntervention period, books available to the reading group were not available to the control group, while the toys available to the control group were not available to the experimental group. Children were given pretest, posttest, and follow up assessments 6 months after the end of the intervention. intervention, teachers reported continuing to use the donated books in the classroom after the completion of the program. However, after t he intervention they did not adhere to the 5 child limit and read to larger groups. So, the dialogic reading style was not maintained as it requires one on one interaction not feasible in larger groups. The researchers suggested that teachers may not be ab le to hold small group sessions on a daily basis. This is because the teacher student ratios often result in one teacher working with two groups worth of children while a second teacher sets up for the next lesson or activity. However, the researchers sugg est that volunteer readers could be an avenue to continue dialogic reading interventions in the classroom. The reading intervention provided benefits to children in three of the centers, while the control group children did better in one center. Overall, children in the reading


70 groups increased their vocabulary by two times the amount that the control group did. Additionally, tests signified that children from the reading groups often knew words that the children from the control conditions rarely knew. Ch ildren in the reading conditions maintained their advantages at the follow up tests 6 months later. Further, children in the combined home and school conditions made greater improvements on the EOWPV T than children in only the school condition. However, t his study was not able to compare the benefits of a home condition separately from the school condition, as it did not include a home only reading group. Another study was designed to further answer the questions raised by the one described above (Whitehu rst et al. 1994). Lonigan and Whitehurst (1998) developed a shared reading intervention program for 3 to 4 year olds from low income backgrounds, which expanded upon the previous intervention to include a control condition, a school condition, a home condi tion, and a combined school and home condition. This study followed the design of the Whitehurst et al. (1994) study however children in the control group received no special treatment in this intervention. Additionally, the videotape training contained a section on utilizing dialogic reading in a group setting. Results indicated variability between the frequency of reading interactions for both teachers as well as parents though only 60% of parents returned reading logs to the researchers. In centers whe re reading frequency was high or high compliance centers the children in the combined intervention conditions scored significantly higher than the children in the control condition. Overall, on the EOWPVT R, the school and home group scored higher than the control group, and the school only group tended to score higher than the control as well. However, in the low compliance centers these increases


71 in scores did not occur. And in the low compliance centers the school group had lower scores than the school a nd home, home only, and control groups. Additionally on the ITPA VE, the three intervention groups scored higher than the control. Further, the scores in the home group were higher than those in the school group, school and home group, and the control. Tho ugh there were no differences between groups on the PPVT R at posttest, there were other measurements that were affected. The combined reading interventions had longer utterances (MLU), more words, a wider range of words, and a greater number of adjectives in the high compliance centers. There were no significant differences with the reading intervention groups, however. In the low compliance centers, the individual intervention groups and combined intervention groups showed no significant differences from frequency of reading in the centers. Overall, the combined intervention groups had used more words, a wider range of words, and more verbs. Therefore, children in the intervention groups had significa nt positive effects to their expressive vocabulary. High compliance centers children in home and school groups received greater benefits than children in the school only or home only groups. This is most likely due to the increased frequency of reading int on one interaction during parent language abilities as the home group had higher ITPA VE scores. So, though classroom based interventions can be effective, having a home based component helps solidify the benefits children receive.


72 This study furthers research that says both parents and teachers can utilize dialogic strategies during parent child book reading that can encourage child langu age development. However, the school based intervention groups had varied success. The authors believe that these differences were in fact due to teacher compliance with the program demands, rather than differences in other activities at the center. Addi tionally, the authors suggest that it is a combination of lack of resources such as time and personnel as well as teacher beliefs about the purpose of child care centers that result in minimal compliance. which target specific skills can decrease teache r participation, as this is seen as a task belonging to the school system. So, classroom based programs have unique obstacles, and combined with the benefits of increased benefits of home based programs, may not be an effective avenue for intervention. How ever, the authors echo the suggestions that volunteer readers in the classroom could be a viable option. Though book reading interventions in the classroom may be limited, there are other intervention strategies that may be useful. Aram and Biron (2004) compared the benefits of a joint reading intervention with a joint writing intervention with low income 3 5 year olds in three different daycares. There were two participating classrooms from each center: joint reading, joint writing, and control. In both interventions, children worked in small groups with a student mentor, spending 20 to 30 minutes twice a week on the activity. And there were two age groups; the younger group consisted of 3 4year


73 olds who had their 4 th birthday during the school year, and the older group which consisted of 4 5 year olds who had their 5 th birthday during the school year. Children in the joint writing intervention participated in a variety of games that aimed to increase letter and phonological awareness, and provide opportu nities for functional writing. One example of functional writing which occurred at the end of the year was creating a phonebook with names and number of the children in the group. The joint reading group read 11 different books in total each was used for a bout 6 sessions, and read twice at each session. During, as well as before and after, the reading children were encouraged to be active student mediators asked them open ended questions and expanded upon their answers. After reading the book, children part icipated in activities that encouraged Activities included games, artistic crafts, and dramatic play. Before moving on to a new book, the children told the story as a gr oup while looking at the pictures. In addition to the intervention sessions, the program also provided two special events for parents to learn joint reading and joint writing skills. Also, each classroom created a designated literacy area, and the research ers donated the books used in the joint reading intervention to the area. At the end of the program, children in the younger group had significantly more gains in receptive vocabulary, as measured by the PPVT, than did the older students. Interestingly, their older peers had been at the beginning of the program despite an average 4 month age difference. So, the younger children would begin their next school year ahead of where their older counterparts had been at their age. The joint writing group had


74 significantly greater word writing and phonological awareness, than the joint reading and control groups. And the joint writing had significantly greater letter recognition than did the joint reading group though there were no data for the control group. Overall, the two intervention groups performed significantly better than the control group. The authors suggest that the joint writing program actively engaged children in literacy activ ities, both mentally and physically, which led to increased developmental gains. Further, the age at which these programs begin can result in greater benefits as the 3 to 4 year olds showed greater benefits than the older children. Again, this suggests tha t beginning interventions earlier can help provide the most benefits to children. In conclusion, classroom based reading intervention programs provide an avenue for promoting expressive and receptive language in children though this may not be a replaceme nt for home based shared reading interactions. There are many unique obstacles to creating classroom reading interventions that foster child development. Not only do classrooms have varying qualities and different access to resources, programs must also be flexible in order to ensure that all children in the group are able to benefit despite differences in background or developmental level. Predominantly, interventions worked with preschool children age 3 5, but interventions showed benefits for children as young as 2 suggesting that interventions can begin early and catch children up before they enter formal schooling. However, beginning interventions early may be difficult in that day care centers and their teachers may not be compliant with the program du e to the belief that the school system is responsible for the development of specific skills such as print recognition, phonological awareness and vocabulary growth. Though teacher compliance is important, there are other options, such as having volunteer readers come


75 in to the classroom, which could make classroom interventions more feasible. But it is important to keep in mind that studies indicated that a combination of intervention techniques both at school and in the home provided the greatest benefit to children.


76 Conclusion Analyzing home based and classroom based book reading interventions provide s several important policy implications as well as raises questions for further research. This allow s for develop ment of a specific target for book reading interventions. Book reading in terventions should be directed at 2 to 5 year old children, though this can be narrowed to ranges of 2 years depending on whether it is a home or classroom intervention. Primarily, home based interventions targeted 2 to 4 year old children where as classroom based interventions targeted children in the 3 to 5 year old range. Book reading has greater effects on child development at younger ages, so research should be expanded to include classroom based interventions w ith 2 year olds. In the meantime, however, it is important to note that home based interventions allow programs t o target younger children. In addition to the target age, the studies suggest that while children of normal developme ntal levels, and their parents, can benefit from intervention programs, the target should be families with children who have language delays or are at risk of falling behind. However, there are obstacles that may hinder targeting this population. Home based interventions m ust recognize the reality of parental time constraints. Success in a home based intervention is based on pa renta l compliance and motivation These interventions were conducted with volu nteer families who wanted to participate if intervention programs are broadened to include parents who are not motivated to participate, the same results will not be obtained. However, there are ways to motivate parents that can increase their compliance. One way is for program impl ementers to establish relationships with parents contacting them throughout the process and providing them with support. Another way to motivate parents to participate is to frame


77 the program as a s pecial opportunity rather than something for at risk families. Though this may seem obvious, it is a crucial aspect to consider. A final suggested way to enc ourage parent motivation i s to reiterate that they will be spending time with their children. Parents reported enjoying spending time with their children in this setting which provides motivation beyond encouraging child development. On the up side, the interventions reported that parents were able to integrate reading into their routines and even exceed the numbe r of reading sessions required (Morgan and Goldstein 2004). In order to ensure that the tar get population receives similar benefits from a book reading intervention, programs must recognize parent time constrains and make adjustments to encourage parent motiva tion. F urthermore developing classroom based components in conjunction with intervention in the home can provide continued benefits to child deve lopment. In this way, children whose parents remain unmotivated to comply or unable due to time constraints may still receive benefits from the program in the classroom. This can be conducted in the cla ssroom as an add on to current curriculum However, as noted in Chapter 3, there are obstacles to intervention in the classroom as well. One suggestion is to utilize volunteer readers in the classroom, if thi s would be effective is a question for further research Though classroom based interventions provide a strong complement to home based components, there is a need for another venue for book reading intervention s outside of the home t his is a question for further research Additiona l research wide scal e intervention is necessary to determine the most effective combination for book reading intervention programs. The question is where this wide sc ale intervention would be conducted. One possible route is the dev elopment of


78 publi c private p artnerships, for example the HIPPY (Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters) program conducted through the YMCA (Young Men i an Association ). Other avenues for intervention include Head Start programs public libraries, or county health department s Further research is necessary because o f the crucial role book reading plays in child development. Not only can book reading foster both expressive and receptive language, provide knowledge about print and books, develop emergent literacy, encourag e decontextualized language and provide an opportunity for children to develop abstract thinking skills it targets all these aspects of development at the same time. Further research is necessary to determine if the benefits t o language transfer to later readi ng and writing skills which would be yet another reason to develop book reading intervention programs. Another important area for further research is to determine how long the benefits from intervention last, and if the benefits from book reading intervention encourage academic succes s that has a long term effect on the child. For example, longitudinal studies which follow children through their academic careers into middle school, high school, and even college to determine if there are long lasting effects should be considered. Parent child book reading intervention programs provide many be nefits to c hildren, but they also provide unique opportunities for parents First, book reading provides parents with a specific activity to utilize and engage with their children which can be incorporated into the daily routine Additionally, the books provide a foundation for conversation and help parents to engage their children. In comparison with interventions that may simply teach parents ways to encourage their


79 child child book reading programs give parents a natural setting to utilize their skills. I n conclusi on, more research is needed to determine how to incorporate home based and classroom based or another venue outside of the hom e intervention components into a program that can target the at risk population and encourage child development. Though there are many questions to be answered, it is worth the effort of policymakers not only because of the substantial benefi ts already associated with book reading are substantial and cover a wide range of aspects of child development but also beca use of the unique opportunity book reading provides parents to encourage the academic success of their child.


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