Quality of adult book reading affects children's emergent literacy

Dev Psychol. 1999 Jan;35(1):20-8. doi: 10.1037//0012-1649.35.1.20.


The authors assessed the relative benefits of 3 styles of adult book reading for preschoolers' emergent literacy. A describer style focused on describing pictures during the reading, a comprehender style focused on story meaning, and a performance-oriented style introduced the book and discussed story meaning on completion. Forty-eight 4-year-olds were randomly assigned to receive 1 of the 3 reading styles over a 6-week period. Pretests and posttests measured children's receptive vocabulary, print, and story comprehension skills. A describer style of reading resulted in the greatest overall benefits for children's vocabulary and print skills, but a performance-oriented style was also beneficial when children's initial skill levels were taken into account. Future book-reading interventions should be tailored to children's initial skill levels.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Child, Preschool
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Language Development*
  • Literature*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual
  • Reading*
  • Speech Perception
  • Teaching / methods*
  • Verbal Learning
  • Vocabulary