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Oral Language and Emergent Literacy Strategies Used by Australian Early Childhood Teachers During Shared Book Reading

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posted on 2023-11-27, 03:24 authored by Tessa WeadmanTessa Weadman, Tanya SerryTanya Serry, Pamela SnowPamela Snow
The use of shared book reading is regarded as valuable to support young children to build their oral language and emergent literacy skills in preschool classrooms. Quantitative and qualitative features of early childhood teachers’ (ECTs’) shared book reading practices are important contributors to quality shared book reading experiences. The aim of this study was to gain in-depth insights about the range and frequency of extratextual oral language and emergent literacy utterances (utterances beyond the story text) used by ECTs during shared book reading with preschoolers as well as their use of paralinguistic and nonverbal features. Video-recordings were made of 32 ECTs engaging in shared book reading with their four-year-old preschool class. ECTs’ extratextual utterances and their paralinguistic and nonverbal features were classified using a validated observational checklist: The “Emergent Literacy and Language Early Childhood Checklist for Teachers” (ELLECCT). Results showed ECTs frequently used responsive statements such as commenting on the story or acknowledging or imitating children’s utterances in book-related talk. ECTs most commonly asked closed questions during shared book reading and regularly used paralinguistic and nonverbal features such as prosody and volume in order to engage children. In contrast, ECTs used only a limited range of dialogic reading prompts and explicit vocabulary strategies and only infrequently expanded children’s utterances. Notably, ECTs rarely used strategies to target children’s print knowledge or phonological awareness. Although extratextual dialogue was used regularly by ECTs during shared book reading, targeted techniques that are known to build oral language and emergent literacy were not consistently demonstrated. These results suggest missed opportunities for preschool children to benefit from shared book reading.


Publication Date



Early Childhood Education Journal






14p. (p. 1335-1348)





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