Jul 24, 2007


Interactive book reading is a reading strategy intended to
promote the development of language and literacy skills in young
children. In a study of the program’s effectiveness among children from
low-income families, pre-school teachers were randomly assigned to receive or
not to receive training in interactive book reading strategies. 15 weeks
after the training, children whose teachers engaged in the training scored
significantly higher than did children whose teachers did not engage in the
training on measures of both receptive and expressive


Target population: Pre-literate children from
low-income families

When reading in an “interactive” manner, teachers engage in
discussion with students about the book being read. Teachers ask children
open-ended questions and encourage them to make use of vocabulary from the
book. The strategy is similar to that of dialogic reading, but, whereas
adults generally work one-on-one or in small groups with children when engaging
in dialogic reading, interactive reading is an appropriate teaching method for
use with whole classes.

A major goal of interactive reading is providing children
with multiple opportunities to use book-related words. In this vein,
prior to reading a book aloud, a teacher will select from that book target
words – common words that are likely to be unfamiliar to children, but are
necessary for story comprehension. Teachers will introduce these words to
students before reading the book (often using concrete objects), alert children
to their usage in the book, and, after reading the book, engage in activities
with children that allow them to make use of these words.


Wasik, B.A. & Bond, M.A.(2001).Beyond the Pages of a Book: Interactive Book Reading and Language
Development in Preschool Classrooms. Journal of Educational
Psychology, 93
(2), 243-250.

Evaluated population: A total of 121 four-year-old children from
low-income families served as the study sample for this investigation.
The children were drawn from four pre-school classes at a Title I early
learning center in Baltimore,
Maryland. 95% of students
at this center were eligible for free or reduced lunch and 94% were black.

Approach: Each class was randomly assigned to either
the treatment group or the control group.

Treatment group teachers were trained in interactive book
reading and book reading extension activities. Training included
instruction in defining vocabulary words, providing opportunities for children
to use words from the books, asking open-ended questions, and providing
children with opportunities to talk and be heard. Because teachers would
be conducting large-group interactive reading sessions, they were also given
instruction on how to help children listen to their peers. Teachers were
provided with books to read to their students and props representing target
vocabulary words from the books.

Control teachers received all the books treatment teachers
did. These books were read as often in control classrooms as they were in
treatment classrooms; however, control teachers did not receive the training
that treatment teachers did.

For the first four weeks of the intervention, an experienced
teacher modeled the shared book reading techniques in each treatment classroom
and assisted with reading extension activities. For the next 11 weeks,
treatment teachers ran the program on their own.

All children were pre-tested individually on the Peabody
Picture Vocabulary Test – III, a measure of receptive vocabulary skills.
Following the 15 week intervention, children were re-assessed on the
PPVT-III. Children were also tested on their knowledge of target words on
a receptive and an expressive measure. In addition, teachers were
observed during a 20-minute activity session in weeks nine and eleven, and
their use of ten target words was recorded.

Results: At post-test, treatment classes scored
significantly higher on the PPVT-III than did control classes. Treatment
classes also scored significantly higher on their knowledge of target
vocabulary words. Classroom observations found that teachers in the
treatment group were significantly and substantially more likely than control
teachers to use the target words during related activities.



Wasik, B.A. & Bond, M.A. (2001).Beyond the Pages of a Book: Interactive Book Reading and Language Development in Preschool
Classrooms. Journal of Educational Psychology, 93(2), 243-250.

KEYWORDS: Early Childhood (0-5), Children (3-11),
High-Risk, School-based, Preschool, Child Care, Early Childhood Education,
Skills Training, Urban, African American or Black, Education, Academic

Program information last updated 7/24/07