WWC review of this study

Relative efficacy of parent and teacher involvement in a shared-reading intervention for preschool children from low-income backgrounds.

Lonigan, C. J., & Whitehurst, G. J. (1998). Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 13(2), 263-290. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ574139

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
    , grade

Reviewed: April 2010

Study sample characteristics were not reported.

Reviewed: February 2007

No statistically significant positive
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Oral language outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
Significant? Improvement

Illinois Test of Psycholinguistic Abilities (ITPA-VE)

Dialogic Reading vs. None


3-4 year olds;
75 students




More Outcomes

Expressive One-Word Picture Vocabulary Test-Revised (EOWPVT-R)

Dialogic Reading vs. None


3-4 year olds;
75 students





Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test Revised (PPVT-R): Form M

Dialogic Reading vs. None


3-4 year olds;
75 students





Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.

  • Female: 54%
    Male: 46%
  • Race
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The study took place in four child care centers in Nashville, Tennessee that served primarily children of families eligible for subsidized child care.

Study sample

The study began with 114 children from low-income households; 23 of these children left the child care center they were attending prior to the posttest, leaving 91 children in the sample. These 91 children were between 33 and 60 months of age at the time of pretest. Fifty-four percent were female and 91% were African-American and all children were from English-speaking homes. The children were randomly assigned within classroom to the intervention and comparison conditions.1 Results for the 75 children who had been randomly assigned to the Dialogic Reading at school, Dialogic Reading both at school and at home, and comparison groups are included in this report.

Intervention Group

The study included three intervention groups: Dialogic Reading at school, Dialogic Reading at home, and Dialogic Reading both at school and at home. The Dialogic Reading at home group is not included in this review because it is not center-based. The Dialogic Reading at school and the Dialogic Reading both at school and at home groups were combined for this review to reflect analyses conducted by the study authors and findings from the combined groups are used to determine the overall rating of effectiveness. Dialogic Reading was implemented over a six-week period. Teachers or aids conducted Dialogic Reading sessions with children in small groups of less than six children. Sessions were planned to take place every day for about 10 minutes. The study authors divided centers into low and high compliance centers based on the frequency level (i.e., high and low) of Dialogic Reading sessions. The WWC uses the findings for the low and high compliance centers combined to determine the overall rating of effectiveness; however, the WWC reports findings for the low and high compliance centers separately in Appendix A5.

Comparison Group

Children in the no-treatment comparison group did not participate in Dialogic Reading at home or at school.

Outcome descriptions

The primary outcome domain was children’s oral language use. Standardized tests included the PPVT-R, the EOWPVT-R, and the ITPA-VE. Lonigan and Whitehurst also included measures of verbal production (MLU, speech production, diversity, and semantic diversity) which are not included in this review because of attrition (see Appendix A2.1 for more detailed descriptions of outcome measures).

Support for implementation

Teachers were trained in Dialogic Reading using a videotape training method which covered the two phases of Dialogic Reading. During the training, the trainees were presented with Dialogic Reading guidelines and watched vignettes of adult-child shared book reading on tape that followed or did not follow the guidelines. Trainees analyzed the vignettes and had one-on-one role plays with the trainer. The phase one and phase two training sessions lasted for 30 and 20 minutes respectively.


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