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Citation:Baker, L., Mackler, K., Sonnenschein, S., & Serpell, R. (2001). ParentsÕ interactions with their first-grade children during storybook reading and relations with subsequent home reading activity and reading achievement. Journal of School Psychology, 39(5), 415-438.

This study examines the interactions between mothers and their first-grade children during shared storybook reading to determine how the character of shared storybook interactions relates to subsequent reading activities and reading achievement. The data indicated that talk about the illustrations was the most common type of meaning-related talk, and parental word provision was the more common type of talk involving word recognition. Correlational analysis, with reader responsibility partialled out, revealed that the affective quality of the interactions was more positive when mothers were better educated and from middle-class homes. Participants were 61 children (30 males and 31 females) and their mothers who were taking part in the Early Childhood Project, a longitudinal study of children's literacy development in Baltimore, Maryland. The families represented four socio-cultural groups: Low-income African American, low-income European American, middle-income African American, and middle-income European American. School lunch ticket status was used as a proxy for income level, with those students eligible to receive free or reduced-price lunch considered being from low-income families. Mothers shared a storybook with their child while the research assistants observed and recorded the activity. Parents were interviewed in their homes several times during the childÕs first-grade year about their child's participation in a variety of literacy-related activities. Also, the Word Identification and the Word Attack test from the Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Achievement B Revised were administered individually to the children in the spring of Grade 1 and Grade 3 to determine if there had been improvement in reading achievement. The researchers suggest that mothers from low-income and less-education backgrounds may find reading difficult and less likely serve as effective models for engaged reading, while middle-income and more educated mothers may go beyond the literal story more frequently in their discussions with their children. This study provides schools some knowledge as to what kinds of interactions are likely to be beneficial. Although the sample was too small to test the suggested pathway from storybook reading-to-reading achievement, the patterns of relations provide tentative support.

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