WWC review of this study

Shared reading experiences and Head Start children’s concepts about print and story structure.

Box, J. A., & Aldridge, J. (1993). Perceptual and Motor Skills, 77(3), 929–930.

  • Randomized controlled trial
     examining 
    49
     Students
    , grade
    PK

Reviewed: April 2015

No statistically significant positive
findings
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Alphabetics outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Early School Inventory– Preliteracy/Part A: Print Concepts Subtest

Shared Book Reading vs. Business as usual

Posttest

Shared reading;
48 students

15.20

10.70

No

--
More Outcomes

Early School Inventory– Preliteracy/Part A: Print Concepts Subtest

Shared Book Reading vs. Movement activities

Posttest

Shared reading;
49 students

15.20

10.76

No

--
Comprehension outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Early School Inventory–Preliteracy/Part B: Story Structure Subtest

Shared Book Reading vs. Business as usual

Posttest

Shared reading;
48 students

4.37

3.26

No

--
More Outcomes

Early School Inventory– Preliteracy/Part B: Story Structure Subtest

Shared Book Reading vs. Movement activities

Posttest

Shared reading;
49 students

4.37

4.01

No

--
Study sample characteristics were not reported.

Setting

The study took place in 15 classrooms located in Head Start centers and public schools in one geographic area.

Study sample

A total of 15 classrooms were chosen by the Head Start director from a total of 33 classrooms. Within each classroom, five children were randomly selected to participate in the study, and each class group was randomly assigned to one of three conditions—shared book reading (intervention), business-as-usual general classroom instruction (comparison), and movement activities (placebo). Classrooms had 18–22 children each, aged 3–5 years old. The 75 children selected for the study ranged in age from 4 years, 1 month to 4 years, 11 months. The children in all three conditions were similar with regard to socioeconomic status, as all were eligible for the Head Start program. All teachers involved in the study had the same level of education; high school graduates who had completed the Child Development Associate (CDA) National Credentialing Program requirements, without attaining a bachelor’s degree in education.

Intervention Group

The shared book reading intervention involved the classroom teacher reading with a group of five children for 10–15 minutes a day, 4 days per week, for 8 weeks. The shared book reading involved three phases: discovery, exploration, and independent experience and expression. The discovery phase took place for 2 days and involved the teacher introducing new books and encouraging children to chime in on repetitive sections, fill in missing words, and suggest possible story outcomes. The exploration phase took place during the rest of the week, beginning on the second day, and involved the teacher re-reading familiar books. Unison participation was common in this phase, which focused on teaching children story structure and relevant reading strategies. The third phase involved independent opportunities for children to read familiar books with the teacher outside of the small group reading experience.

Comparison Group

There were two comparison conditions: (a) business-as-usual general classroom instruction, during which children had access to social studies and science units, as well as their usual learning centers, such as art, library, housekeeping, math, and language arts activities; and (b) movement activities, which did not involve literacy instruction. The children took part in these activities for 10–15 minutes a day, 4 days per week, for 8 weeks. The business-as-usual practice may have included some read-aloud activities as part of typical instruction, but structured interaction focused on the text was not explicitly used. The teacher led children in movement activities that they had not engaged in previously during the school year.

Outcome descriptions

In the alphabetics domain, the Early School Inventory-Preliteracy/Part A Print Concepts was used to assess print awareness. Children were shown cards with pictures and/or print and asked to point to pictures or select words to demonstrate concepts of print.13 In the comprehension domain, the Early School Inventory-Preliteracy/Part B Story Structure was administered, which measures children’s ability to retell a familiar story by including specific elements necessary for the story to be complete. For a more detailed description of these outcome measures, see Appendix B.

Support for implementation

The author conducted centrally-located group training and demonstration sessions with the teachers in the shared reading intervention group and with the teachers in the movement activities placebo group. For intervention teachers, charts were provided with guidelines to follow during shared reading with children. Teachers in the placebo group were instructed to follow the guidelines on each of the movement records. Teachers in the intervention and placebo groups were monitored by the author five times during the 8-week intervention period to ensure that they adhered to the guidelines. Teachers in the comparison group did not require special instruction or support for implementation, because children in this condition were receiving the usual classroom instruction.

In the case of multiple manuscripts that report on one study, the WWC selects one manuscript as the primary citation and lists other manuscripts that describe the study as additional sources.

  • Box, J. A. (1991). The effects of shared reading experiences on Head Start children’s concepts about print and story structure (Doctoral dissertation). Available from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database. (UMI No. 9107738)

 

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