Effects of a Parent-Delivered Shared Reading Intervention on Preschoolers' Vocabulary Acquisition
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Many diverse children, especially the economically disadvantaged, enter school experiencing large gaps in oral language that adversely affect their reading comprehension in later years. Vocabulary skills are part of the oral language emergent literacy skill set that plays an important role in laying the foundation for reading. Emergent literacy skills are formed before children enter formal schooling through a child’s interactions with the adults in their lives and through exposure to language and print. Much research has indicated that shared reading is related to preschoolers’ development of their early vocabulary skills. Consistently, the literature has shown that training to instruct parents on how to adopt interactive reading styles and techniques to build background knowledge and vocabulary enhances the positive effects of shared reading. The purpose of this study was to shed light on what is needed to establish whether parents trained to deliver interactive techniques during shared reading to explicitly teach target vocabulary words will enhance children’s acquisition of these words. For this study, six mother-preschooler dyads were recruited from an ethnically diverse Head Start center in a rural county in central Texas. The study utilized a parent-delivered shared reading curriculum intervention designed for the Project Words of Oral Reading and Language Development (Project WORLD) to develop and accelerate vocabulary through strategic and evocative conversations carried out at home after school. This study utilized a single case research withdrawal design with cumulative frequency to compare the WORLD intervention and a “books only” (reading as usual) condition to demonstrate the effects of the WORLD, parent-delivered shared reading intervention. Both visual and statistical analyses including effect size calculation were conducted. Results indicated that intensive shared book reading was effective at expanding participant’s knowledge of target vocabulary, and thus, that time used for cognitively complex questioning on high priority words did produce change. Consequently, because at-risk children begin school with comparatively limited vocabulary background knowledge, vocabulary instruction and discussion (and training for parents on this) may require explicit training/instruction that assists children in drawing connections between content-area knowledge, vocabulary words and real life.
Simek, Amber (2014). Effects of a Parent-Delivered Shared Reading Intervention on Preschoolers' Vocabulary Acquisition. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from