Discussing Stories: On How a Dialogic Reading Intervention Improves Kindergartners' Oral Narrative Construction

J Exp Child Psychol. 2011 Jan;108(1):1-24. doi: 10.1016/j.jecp.2010.07.002. Epub 2010 Sep 9.


Oral narrative skills are assumed to develop through parent-child interactive routines. One such routine is shared reading. A causal link between shared reading and narrative knowledge, however, has not been clearly established. The current research tested whether an 8-week shared reading intervention enhanced the fictional narrative skills of children entering formal education. Dialogic reading, a shared reading activity that involves elaborative questioning techniques, was used to engage children in oral interaction during reading and to emphasize elements of story knowledge. Participants were 40 English-speaking 5- and 6-year-olds who were assigned to either the dialogic reading group or an alternative treatment group. Analysis of covariance results found that the dialogic reading children's posttest narratives were significantly better on structure and context measures than those for the alternative treatment children, but results differed for produced or retold narratives. The dialogic reading children also showed expressive vocabulary gains. Overall, this study concretely determined that aspects of fictional narrative construction knowledge can be learned from interactive book reading.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Development
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knowledge*
  • Male
  • Narration*
  • Reading*
  • Vocabulary