WWC review of this study

Beyond the pages of a book: Interactive book reading and language development in preschool classrooms.

Wasik, B. A., & Bond, M. A. (2001). Journal of Educational Psychology, 93(2), 243-250. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ638739

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
    , grade

Reviewed: April 2010

Study sample characteristics were not reported.

Reviewed: February 2007

At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Oral language outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
Significant? Improvement

Expressive language

Dialogic Reading vs. None


3-4 year olds;
121 students




More Outcomes

Receptive language

Dialogic Reading vs. None


3-4 year olds;
121 students





Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.

  • 100% Free or reduced price lunch
  • Race

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The study took place in a Title I early learning center in Baltimore, Maryland.

Study sample

The study began with 127 children from low-income households ranging in age from 3.9 years to 4.6 years (mean age = 4.3 years). After assignment to groups, six children transferred to another school, leaving 121 children in the sample. The center that the children attended served primarily three- to five-year-old children who were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. Among the children attending the center, 94% were African Americans. Four teachers were randomly assigned to the intervention and comparison conditions.

Intervention Group

The study examined the effect of interactive book reading plus extension activities reinforcing the use of target vocabulary in the book on children’s language development. The interactive reading sessions were conducted by trained teachers with the whole class of children and the extension activities supporting the use of target vocabulary were conducted in various contexts. The intervention took place four days a week and lasted for 15 weeks in the children’s classrooms. Two books were read per week; one book was read twice and the other book was read once.

Comparison Group

The comparison group teachers read the same books the same number of times that they were read in the intervention group. However, the comparison group teachers were not trained to use the interactive book reading strategies.

Outcome descriptions

The primary outcome domain was children’s oral language use. This domain was assessed with one standardized measure and two researcher-developed measures. The standardized measure was the PPVT-III. The researcher-developed measures were: (1) a receptive language measure, which was developed using a subset of vocabulary words presented in the interactive book reading intervention and (2) an expressive language measure, which contained pictures representing the words presented during the interactive book reading intervention. The PPVT-III is not considered in this review because an effect size could not be calculated with the information provided (see Appendix A2.1 for more detailed descriptions of outcome measures).

Support for implementation

Teachers were trained in interactive book reading techniques and book reading extension activities by an experienced teacher trainer. During the training, teachers were instructed in how to use interactive book reading strategies (e.g., defining vocabulary words, asking open-ended questions, and giving children an opportunity to talk and be heard). The teacher trainer modeled these strategies in the intervention classrooms and assisted extension activities in the first four weeks of the intervention. In addition, each intervention teacher was given books and materials focused on early childhood topics and themes that would be used in the book reading and extension activities.


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