Expanding language through storybook reading improves preschool children´s vocabulary

Expanding language through storybook reading improves preschool children´s vocabulary

First Author: Márcia da Mota -- Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro
Additional authors/chairs: 
Leonardo Martins; Jaqueline Batista
Keywords: Home Literacy Environment, early childhood (age 4 - 6), Literacy Skills, Vocabulary, Early Literacy
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose. The study investigates whether Brazilian children’s home literacy environment and the nature of parent-child storybook reading interactions was related to early literacy precursors such letter knowledge, phonological awareness and vocabulary. Method. Participants were 43 four years old preschoolers from middle SES and their parents. Data collection for the child was conducted at the child's school. Children’s letter knowledge, phonological awareness, and vocabulary were assessed. Parents responded to a questionnaire and to a diary that examined the shared home literacy activities. They had to report time expended on these during a typical week. Results. Positive significant correlations between vocabulary and phonological awareness but not between time expended in home literacy activities were found. Parents were divided in three groups according to the natures of shared storybook interaction: parents that read the story without expanding the language; those that read the story but expanded the language and those that told the story on their own words. Comparisons between groups showed that children whose parents read the story faithfully to the text but expanded the language had better vocabulary than those with parents who did not. Conclusions. This study reveals important information for countries such as Brazil in which time spent in reading activities is still quite low even among middle and upper social classes and literacy outcomes are still poor. It shows the potential strength of parental support in promoting early literacy precursors that can in turn help literacy acquisition.