Reading Books to Young Children: What It Does and Does Not Do
The present chapter is an overview of six studies that share a common theme: the contribution of shared reading to child outcomes. The first three studies are experimental in nature and show that the number of times as well as the manner in which adults read to children will affect children’s acquisition of comprehension and spoken vocabulary. The fourth study is an intervention with children who have poor vocabulary skills. The findings revealed that care givers can enhance children’s spoken vocabulary by reading books to them in an interactive manner, and that simply reading in their customary fashion may not promote vocabulary acquisition. The last two studies are correlated. They provide converging evidence that shared reading predicts children’s vocabulary, and that, children’s vocabulary is a robust predictor of reading comprehension. These studies also show the limits of shared reading because parent reports of shared reading did not predict children’s early literacy skills or word reading at the end of grade 1.
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