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Title:Effects of a shared-reading intervention on the inclusion of evaluative devices in narratives of children from low-income families
Author:Zevenbergen, A. A., Whitehurst, G. J., & Zevenbergen, J. A.
Resource Type:Journal Article
Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 24(1)

pp. 1Ð15
Education Level:Early Childhood/Pre-K
Literature type:Research and Evaluation

This study examines a shared-reading strategy called dialogic reading. Zevenbergen and Whitehurst looked at the impact of this shared reading program on childrenÕs narrative skills. Parents and teachers were trained in the dialogic reading strategy; parents were provided with books each week and were encouraged to read the books dialogically with their children at least three times per week. ChildrenÕs narrative skills were assessed using a standardized story-retelling task. ChildrenÕs narratives were recorded, transcribed, and coded. Participants in the study were 123 4-year-old children from low-income families who were enrolled in 16 classrooms within four Head Start centers. Classrooms were randomly assigned to treatment and control conditions. The intervention consisted of a 30-week shared-reading program conducted both at school and at home, as well as a phonemic awareness program; however, the latter program was not expected to impact participating childrenÕs narrative skills and thus was not addressed in this article. The authors found that the dialogic reading intervention had significant effects on childrenÕs use of evaluative devices in their narratives. They noted, ÒThe effect of the intervention is not simply that children exposed to the intervention program are talking more or recalling more informationÉ Rather, the children who participated in the intervention program appear to have gained specific narrative skills through their shared-reading experiencesÓ (pp. 9-10). Results indicated significant effects for some, but not all, categories of evaluative devices, including references to charactersÕ internal states and use of dialogue. The authors note that Òthe literature suggests that this narrative skill may translate into educationalÉ and social advantagesÉ for the child when he or she begins schoolÓ (pp. 11-12).

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