Join the CROWD:
A Strategy for Reading Aloud
to Young Children
8th Annual Shining Stars Conference
By Peggy C. Agee, SLPD, CCC-SLP
July 19, 2011
Questions That We Will Answer Today:
 What is dialogic reading?
 Why is dialogic reading important to
children’s language development?
 How do we “do” dialogic reading?
 How can we plan for dialogic reading?
“Reading books with young children is
one of the single most important things
that adults can do to ensure children’s
timely development of oral language
and emergent literacy skills, both of
which are necessary for success in
school and ultimately, in life.”
Ezell and Justice (2005), xii
Shared Reading Has a Unique Quality!
Both oral and written language are
presented simultaneously!
Permits children to acquire BOTH:
 Oral language abilities
 AND knowledge about print and how print
What is Shared Reading?
 A passive activity in
which children sit
and listen and an
adult reads? NO!!
 An interactive
activity between an
adult and child
when reading OR
looking at a book—a
Dialogic Reading: A joint
reading adventure!
Language Learning is Dynamic!
The “space” between communication partners is
where language learning occurs. After
experiencing language between partners, the
learner can then internalize the language, making
a part of his/her own system.
AVygotskian notion
What Is The Intended Purpose of
Dialogic Reading?
 To teach children to read? NO!
 To assist children to develop the
foundation for learning to read.
Why DO Dialogic Reading?
 Frequency of shared reading with
young children accounts for about 710% of the variance in children’s:
 Primary grade reading, and
 Language learning
Bus, van Izendoorn, & Pellegrini, 1995; Senechal,
LeFebre, Thomas, & Daley, 1998
Advantages of Dialogic Reading
Shared reading promotes:
 The experience of “story” (concept of story)
 Familiarity with the language of books
 Familiarity with the mechanics of books
 Awareness that print carries meaning
****These are Essential Pre-Reading Skills***
Additional Advantages
Shared reading of storybooks offers
opportunities to:
 Decontextualize language
 Observe and use a more complex
 Observe and demonstrate print concepts
 Comprehend and use vocabulary that is
more complex than is used in typical dayto-day interactions
How Much Shared Reading is
 “About 1000 books need to be
read to a child before he or she
enters Kindergarten” so that
child is ready for experiences in
reading and writing.
Morrow, L. (2005)
Does QUALITY Matter?
 A responsive quality of interaction has greater value
in fostering children’s development (Arnold et al, 1994;
Bergin 2001; Kaderavek & Sulzby, 1998)
 Teachers’ techniques of eliciting active involvement
during story time activities in preschool classroom
are powerful tools for building early language and
literacy skills (Whitehurst, Epstein, et al, 1994; Whitehurst et al,
 When adults are responsive to children in shared
reading experiences, positive developmental gains
in vocabulary can be expected (Lesemen & deJong, 1998)
. . . And more evidence
 Two-year-old children whose parents were
taught and then implemented a dialogic
reading strategy used (on average) TWICE
as many multiword utterances, more oneword utterances, and produced longer
sentences than did the comparison group.
Huebner, 2000
Look Like?
 Is child-oriented, child-led, child-directed
 Is interactive
 Relies as much on commenting as questioning
 Uses open-ended questions
 Makes use of pauses to allow child to respond
 Repeats what child says and adds one more idea
 Models appropriate language levels (including
vocabulary and sentence structure and grammar)
Justice & Ezell, 2005
Strategies which are NOT dialogic?
 Insistence that children “be quiet” and just “listen”
 Reliance on yes-no questions or questions which only have a
one-word response
 Failure to respond to children’s comments or questions
 Reading without pausing for children to interject and
comment or question
 Failure to offer corrective feedback about ideas, grammar, or
How Can I Remember to DO ALL of
Have I got a mnemonic for
The PEER Strategy for the
Developmentally Young
Target the child’s oral language and listening
comprehension using the PEER sequence
o Prompt the child to say something about
the book
o Evaluate the child’s response
o Expand (by adding in necessary
grammatical features) and Extend child’s
language (add one more idea)
o Repeat the correct response
CROWD Strategy
 C = completion statements which invite an on-topic
 R = questions which invite recall
 O = open-ended questions which invite hypothesis,
prediction, association, evaluation,
 W = wh? Questions which invite new vocabulary
 D = distancing questions which invite the child to
relate his/her own life-experiences to the story
Whitehurst, Lonigan, et al, 1988
These strategies are for 1:1
shared reading. Right? They
won’t work in a group??!!
Not true!
Groups are “messier” but can still be
effective, if:
•The reader uses the same interactive
•Groups are relatively small
•Multiple children are permitted to
respond to each stimulus
Let’s Try Planning for a Dialogic
Summary: Benefits to Child of
 Exposure to more complex language
of others and opportunity to use more
complex language
Increased opportunities for conversations with adults
Opportunities to deal with complex issues
Opportunities to refine conversational skills
Observation of higher level “thinking” in others and the
Opportunity to develop higher level thinking for self
Opportunities for explicit instruction about forms, features, and
functions of print
For More Information OR To Chat About
Your Experiences with Dialogic Reading:
I’d love to hear what you are doing!
Huebner. (2000). Promoting toddlers’ language development: A
randomized controlled trial of a community-based intervention.
Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 21, 513-535
Justice & Ezell. (2005). Shared storybook reading. Baltimore: Paul H.
McGinty, Sofka, Sutton, & Justice. (2006). Fostering Print Awareness
through interactive shared reading. In Sharing Books and Stories to
Promote Language and Literacy. San Diego: Plural Publishing.
Morrow, L. (2005). Literacy development in the early years. Boston:
Pearson Pub.
Stewart & Lovelace. (2006). Recruiting children’s attention to print
during shared reading. In Clinical Approaches to Emergent Literacy
Intervention. San Diego: Plural Publishing.
Whitehurst, Lonigan, et al. (1988), Accelerating language
development through picture book reading. Developmental
Psychology, 24, 552-559.