WWC review of this study

Parent-child book reading as an intervention technique for young children with language delays.

Dale, P. S., Crain-Thoreson, C., Notari-Syverson, A., & Cole, K. (1996). Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 16(2), 213–235. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ527651

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    33
     Students
    , grade
    PK
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations

Reviewed: April 2010

Communication/ Language outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Total utterances: Book reading

Dialogic Reading vs. Conversational Language Training Program

Posttest

3-6 year olds;
33 students

63.8

40.3

Yes

 
 
45
More Outcomes

Lexical diversity- play

Dialogic Reading vs. Conversational Language Training Program

Posttest

3-6 year olds;
33 students

75

54.9

Yes

 
 
32

Mean length utterance (MLU): Play

Dialogic Reading vs. Conversational Language Training Program

Posttest

3-6 year olds;
33 students

3.08

2.98

No

--

Mean length utterance (MLU): Book reading

Dialogic Reading vs. Conversational Language Training Program

Posttest

3-6 year olds;
33 students

2.82

2.75

No

--

Total utterances: Play

Dialogic Reading vs. Conversational Language Training Program

Posttest

3-6 year olds;
33 students

94.5

92.3

No

--

Lexical diversity- book reading

Dialogic Reading vs. Conversational Language Training Program

Posttest

3-6 year olds;
33 students

14.6

14.6

No

--

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • Female: 27%
    Male: 73%
  • Race
    Black
    18%
    Not specified
    15%
    White
    67%
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    Washington

Setting

Study participants were recruited from programs at the Experimental Education Unit at the University of Washington. Parent training sessions were conducted in small groups in therapy/lab rooms.

Study sample

Thirty-three mother-child dyads were recruited over a two-year period from an early childhood education center. The children were ages three to six and had mild to moderate language delays, functioning at the two- to four-year-old level; 27% of the sample was female. Average baseline test scores on the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test–Revised were more than 2 standard deviations below the normed mean. English was the primary language for all dyads. The dyads were assigned randomly either to dialogic reading or to the comparison condition, the Conversational Language Training Program.

Intervention Group

Parents attended two training sessions with their children, where they viewed a videotaped presentation of effective ways of facilitating language development through reading and then had a brief group discussion. Modules helped facilitate appropriate parental feedback to children during book reading. The intervention included handouts that summarized each of the modules and included examples. Parents were asked to implement the intervention at home over a six- to eight-week period. Books and handouts were given to parents to take home with them. Researchers were unable to assess the consistency of parental implementation of this program.

Comparison Group

The comparison program, the Conversational Language Training Program, was designed to be comparable both in presentation and in general nature to the intervention but did not include books. Both the intervention and the comparison program emphasized an interactive, responsive style of communication with children. Parents in the comparison group attended two training sessions in which they viewed videotapes, received handouts, were given one of two toys, and were asked to implement the comparison program at home over a six- to eight-week period.

Outcome descriptions

The primary outcome domain was children’s communication and language competencies. The study used three nonstandardized measures of communication and language competencies: mean length utterance, number of different words used (lexical diversity), and total number of utterances. The study used these measures for two types of activities: book reading and play. For a more detailed description of these outcome measures, see Appendix A2.

Support for implementation

Parents were trained in dialogic reading in two sessions. Training included a videotaped presentation, group discussion, and handouts summarizing program components.

 

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