B. Definition

Dialogic reading is a specific type of interactive reading that relies on a set of strategies called PEER (Prompt- Evaluate-Expand-Repeat) designed to create a conversation with children and help them take an active role in storytelling.

Listen to Dr. Christopher Lonigan to learn more about how dialogic reading is defined and how it is different from other shared reading approaches.

In this section, you will first learn how to select a book to read with young children. Then, you will learn how to plan and use specific practices to effectively engage young children in dialogic reading.

Video 6.3: Dr. Christopher Lonigan: Defining diaglogic reading

Dr. Christopher Lonigan, a professor of psychology at Florida State University, talks about dialogic reading and how it is different from other shared reading approaches. (running time: 1 min. 37 sec.)

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Dr. Lonigan:

I’m a Professor of psychology at Florida State University. The typical reading you see in early childhood settings is where maybe the whole class is sitting around in circle time and the teacher is just reading the book, and the children are listening. In dialogic reading, what happens is that the typical role between the adult and the child, or the teacher and the children is shifted. So rather than just the children being passive listeners to the story, the teacher or the adult is having the children help tell part of the story. The teacher or the adult facilitates that by having the children answer some questions or provide additional expansions on things they’ve heard, or maybe even remembering other things they did that actually relate to the story.

Dialogic reading is interactive in a sense that the teacher is having a dialogue with children about the story or using the book as a way to have the dialogue. Whereas in regular shared reading, the teacher is just reading and the children are listening. So it’s a very passive, receptive model of the book.

Now, there’s another type of shared reading, which some people call interactive shared reading, where teachers may occasionally ask questions of children about the story they’re reading, but it’s not as organized, it’s not as systematic as it would be in dialogic reading. And the focus of dialogic reading is really less about the book, and it’s really more about having a language interaction around the book.