What is the best method when reading to your child?

Story timeFor this month of Research Tuesday, I decided to choose two articles addressing the best way to read picture books aloud to your young child. I found these articles very interesting and extremely helpful in reinforcing the importance of getting your child involved in book reading time. There have been many times that I have been told through my career as a speech pathologist that reading books during a therapy session is a passive activity and may not elicit tons of language. I never felt that way because with the strategies that I used, I elicited tons of language from the children I worked with. I never knew the actual name for my strategies till now, Dialogic Reading!

Do you read a picture book and have your child simply listen or do you read the book and get your children involved in the book?

The first article I chose named Relative Effectiveness of Dialogic, Interactive Book Reading and Shared Book Reading Interventions defines and discusses three types of reading interventions. These interventions are named Dialogic, Interactive and Shared Book Reading. What does each intervention mean? Dialogic reading is when the adult and child switch roles so that the child learns to be a storyteller with the assistance of the adult (What Works Clearinghouse 2006a; 2006b; 2007). Interactive Shared Book Reading is when the adult reads a book to a child or a small group of children and uses a variety of techniques to engage the children in the text (What Works Clearinghouse 2006a; 2006b; 2007). Shared Book Reading is when an adult simply reads the book aloud to the child without having an interaction with the children (What Works Clearinghouse 2006a; 2006b; 2007).

Which method of reading do you think was found to be most effective? The two interventions that had the most benefits to children were with Dialogic and Interactive Shared Book Reading. When these methods were used there was an increase in linguistic processing skills and print related skills. This can help build your child’s language skills and improve literacy skills.

So now that you know what interventions work best for a child or a small group of child, how can you use Dialogic Reading method? There are some simple ways to learn how to use this method of reading to your child. According to the article, “Dialogic Reading: An Effective Way to Read to Preschooler”, the use of the PEER sequence is key.

P: Prompts the child to say something about the book

E: Evaluates the child’s response

E: Expands the child’s response

R: Repeats the prompts to make sure the child learned from the expansion

How can you use this sequence to get your child or student to interact with you during book reading time?  Read these helpful tips suggested by Grover Whitehurst PhD. See the full article here.

helpful tips1. Completion Prompts: Use prompts that require the child to complete the sentence. For example, when reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear, say “Brown Bear Brown Bear what do you ___?”

2. Recall Prompts: Ask your child about what occurred in the story. For example when reading Don’t Push The Button, ask your child “What happened when you pushed the button the last time?”

3. Open Ended Prompts. Ask open ended questions. For example, when reading How to Heal a Broken Wing, ask your child “How do you think Will felt when he released the bird back into the wild?”

4. “Wh Prompts” Ask “wh” questions (e.g. Who, What, Where, When, etc)

5. Distance Prompts.Ask questions related to something that occurred outside the book called Distance Prompts. These types of prompts are questions that you would ask that would relate to something in their life outside of the book. For example in the book, Curious George Makes Maple Syrup, ask your child about the last time they had maple syrup with their pancakes or if they ever went to a Maple farm.

I hope you find this post helpful. Please write in with your comments!

To learn more about Research Tuesday or to get involved, click here.




Trivette, Carol, Carl Dunst, and Number 2. “Relative Effectiveness of Dialogic, Interactive and Shared Book Reading.” CELLreviews (n.d.): n. pag. Web. 10 Aug. 2014. <http://www.earlyliteracylearning.org/cellreviews/cellreviews_v1_n2.pdf>.

Whitehurst, Grover. “Dialogic Reading: An Effective Way to Read to Preschoolers.” Reading Rockets. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Aug. 2014. <http://www.readingrockets.org/article/400>.



  1. […] What is the best method when reading to your child? Rebecca Eisenberg, MS, CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist, author, instructor, and parent of two young children, who began her blog to create a resource for parents to help make mealtime an enriched learning experience . Find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. […]

  2. […] What is a prompt? According to the dictionary, a prompt means “assist or encourage (a hesitating speaker) to say something.” Constantly asking the same types of “wh” questions can feel repetitive and overwhelming to a child. Asking the same types of questions can also be a passive activity which can decrease engagement in the story and make the child feel unsuccessful if they answer the questions wrong. Four out of five of these prompts written below are taken from an article I wrote on my blog about the best reading method for your child. To read more about the best reading method for your child, click here. […]

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