Shared Picture Book Reading Interventions for Child Language Development: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Child Dev. 2020 Mar;91(2):e383-e399. doi: 10.1111/cdev.13225. Epub 2019 Feb 9.


Interventions that train parents to share picture books with children are seen as a strategy for supporting child language development. We conducted meta-analyses using robust variance estimation modeling on results from 19 RCTs (Ntotal = 2,594; Mchildage = 1-6 years). Overall, book-sharing interventions had a small sized effect on both expressive language (d = 0.41) and receptive language (d = 0.26). They had a large effect on caregiver book-sharing competence (d = 1.01). The impact of the intervention on child language was moderated by intervention dosage, with lower dosage associated with a minimal impact. Child age and caregiver education level were unrelated to child outcome. This review and meta-analysis confirms the promise of book-sharing interventions for enhancing and accelerating child language development.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Books*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Language Development*
  • Male
  • Reading*
  • Vocabulary*