Video 6.4: Dr.Christopher Lonigan: Using CROWD prompts


Dr. Christopher Lonigan, a professor of psychology at Florida State University, talks about how you can use the CROWD prompts depending on the developmental needs of the children. (running time: 4 min. 37 sec.)


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Dr. Lonigan:

The main, unique feature about dialogic reading is really not about reading. It’s really about having a conversation. So, there are lots of different ways you can think about it. One of the ways that I like to think about it is that there are different levels of dialogic reading. So anybody who has ever read a book with a young child knows that children like to be read the same book over and over again. They get favorite books, and often times they’ll bring that book to you continuously to read over. So children are getting more and more familiar with books the more times that the book is read to them.

Dialogic reading takes advantage of that in a sense that as children learn more about the book or have more conversations about the book, they’re developing a vocabulary and a way of talking about the book.

So the first phase of dialogic reading is really just these simple “w-h” type questions: What is this? What’s it called? What’s it made of? What is he doing? So, it’s about the big things in the pictures, the big actions in the pictures, and then what we like to do is have adults or teachers follow up correct answers with follow up questions. So like I said, if the child answers that it’s a bicycle, maybe asking about parts of the bicycle like the pedals or the wheels or the handle bars.

In the second phase, or what I like to call Level 2, it’s moving a little bit beyond the vocabulary. So the first phase in a book is really using Level 1 where the teacher or the adult is making sure that the child knows the words of the things that are pictured in the book. In the second phase, it’s using that language in a way to really tell the story. So the types of question changes from the simple “w-h” type question to a more open ended question, like maybe turning to a page and just letting a child pick something to talk about. You know, “What do you see here?” The adult or teacher may ask, “Tell me about this page.” Or, “What’s happening?” So it really doesn’t specify that you have to talk about the bicycle or anything like that. So it really gives a child ownership of what it is that they’re going to tell about the book or what they’re going to tell about the story.

And then in the final phase of dialogic reading is a phase where, maybe teachers will connect what’s going on in the book—either the things in the book or something about the story—to something in the child’s own life, or maybe connecting the end part of the book with the beginning part of the book. So really, building up a narrative about the book. So asking questions like, “Well, do you remember what happened at the beginning of the story and why is he doing this?” So that has the child talking about the story, but talking about it sort of distant from the page of the book you’re on right now. Or say maybe the book is about going to the zoo or seeing different animals at the zoo, and maybe the class had done a field trip to the zoo. Or they had done some other activity about zoo animals. So maybe the teacher would ask a question that related that experience or that field trip to what’s going on in the story. “Do you remember when we went to the zoo, and what was that like? Which animals did you see?”

We picked this book, The Itsy Bitsy Spider, because it hadgood pictures for Level 1 and Level 2. On this page, where it had the picture of the mop and the pail, the Level 1 questions might be, “What’s this a picture of?” “It’s a pail.” “What color is it?” “It’s yellow.” “What do you use a pail for?” “To carry water or to wash things.”

On Level 2, you might turn to this page and say, “Well, what’s going on here? What do you see here?” And the child who has already gone through Level 1 would say, “Well, I see a pail.” And the teacher might say, “I see a yellow pail. And what else do you see?” The teacher would ask and the child might say, “There’s a mop there.” And the teacher would say, “Yeah, there’s a mop and a pail of water.”

And then moving on to Level 3, the teacher might ask the child something that follows up on that sort of conversation. So, “You use a mop and a pail to clean things. Have you ever cleaned things? Who uses a mop at your house?” Level 3 type question is something that extends beyond the pages of the book to something in a child’s own life, or, “Do you remember yesterday when it rained outside and the rain came in through the window and the man had to come in with the mop and the pail? What was he doing with the mop and the pail?”