Shared Book Reading: What Works Clearinghouse


Report Summary

Shared book reading was found to have mixed effects on comprehension and language development and no discernible effects on alphabetics and general reading achievement for preschool children.

Program Description
Shared book reading (also known as interactive shared book reading) encompasses practices that adults can use when reading with children, which are intended to enhance young children’s language and literacy skills. During shared book reading, an adult reads a book to an individual child or a group of children and uses one or more planned or structured interactive techniques to actively engage the children in the text. The adult may direct the children’s attention to illustrations, print, or word meanings. The adult may engage children in discussions focused on understanding the meaning or sequence of events in a story or on understanding an expository passage. Adults may ask children questions, give explanations and draw connections between events in the text and those in the children’s own lives as a way of expanding on the text and scaffolding children’s learning experiences to support language development, emergent reading, and comprehension. Importantly, the adult engages in one or more interactive techniques to draw attention to aspects of the text being read.

The WWC identified eight studies of shared book reading that both fall within the scope of the Early Childhood Education topic area and meet WWC group design standards. Six studies meet WWC group design standards without reservations and two studies meet WWC group design standards with reservations. Together, these studies included 791 children aged 3–6 years in 10 locations.

The WWC considers the extent of evidence for shared book reading on the school readiness outcome of preschool children to be small for three outcome domains—comprehension, alphabetics, and general reading achievement—and medium to large for one outcome domain—language development. There were no studies that meet standards in the four other domains, so this intervention report does not report on the effectiveness of shared book reading for those domains.

This intervention report was prepared for the WWC by Mathematica Policy Research under contract ED-IES-13-C-0010.

Source: What Works Clearinghouse

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