A. Research

As part of evidence-based practice, families and practitioners can turn to the best available research to answer questions and help solve practice dilemmas.  In order to provide information on the best available research on a particular practice, CONNECT summarizes an existing research synthesis when available. For this module, CONNECT uses two existing research syntheses that directly addresses the use and effectiveness of dialogic reading with children, including those with disabilities, enrolled in early care and education settings.

Following the instructions on Activity 6.3a, learn about the effectiveness research on dialogic reading in Handout 6.1: Research Summary on Dialogic Reading, which consists of two research syntheses prepared by the U.S. Department of Education What Works Clearinghouse.

In addition to the What Works Clearinghouse report, the National Early Literacy Panel reviewed the research on early language and literacy development for young children birth- age 5 and made recommendations about particular practices that were shown to be most effective with this age group. For more information, read the full report: Developing Early Literacy Report of the National Early Literacy Panel: A Scientific Synthesis of Early Literacy Development and Implications for Intervention.

Video 6.2: Dr. Christopher Lonigan: Research on dialogic reading

Dr. Christopher Lonigan, a professor of psychology at Florida State University, talks about research on dialogic reading. (running time: 2 min. 01 sec.)

View Transcript

Dr Lonigan:

What we know from the research is that when children are exposed to shared reading using dialogic reading, that they really do acquire greater levels of development in their vocabulary and other aspects of language. So not only is it designed to produce language, but there’s a number of research studies that actually demonstrate that children who are exposed to shared reading with dialogic reading, gained more vocabulary skills and other language skills than children who don’t get exposed to dialogic reading.

And the interesting thing there is that most of the studies had the children who didn’t get dialogic reading—is they got as much shared reading as the children who got dialogic reading. So it wasn’t a difference in being exposed to story books, it was a difference in how they were exposed to storybooks.

The idea is that there are different purposes for books. So understanding that doing dialogic reading doesn’t mean that you’re not going to have times where you just actually read a book with children, you might even read a book where just you are the one who’s reading and the children are listening during small group time, during large group time, or during circle time. But dialogic reading is a special time, it’s a special time to help children learn vocabulary and learn other language skills.

Of course, dialogic reading is supposed to be fun. It’s supposed to be fun for the children, it’s supposed to be fun for the teacher—so turn taking, and using different books, using them differently, sometimes using them for whole group, sometimes for dialogic reading, sometimes you just read. Seeing that that process is okay. Dialogic reading is flexible enough that it shouldn’t be seen as something other than fun. A fun way to use books and have conversations.