Dialogic Reading

Chevy Chase Library

Dialogic Reading

Help Your Child Get Ready to Read

How we read to children is as important as how frequently we read to them.  With school beginning very soon, here are some helpful suggestions to use with pre-schoolers as well as even younger children, as we begin to reinforce those early literacy skills.

Children learn most from picture books when they are actively involved with the reader and the book.  “Dialogic Reading is an interactive shared reading technique designed to enhance early literacy skills and language development.”  It is the child and adult having a conversation about the pictures and the text that is most important.  Research from the U.S. Department of Education shows that dialogic reading is based on three main strategies:

  • Asking “what, where, when, why, and how” questions.  “What is this?” “What else do you see in the story?  Tell me about it.” 
  • Repeating what the child says, while giving praise and encouragement.  Extend the child’s response by giving more information and developing vocabulary about the pictures.
  • Asking open-ended questions about the pictures.“What is the bear doing?  I wonder what is going to happen and why.” 
Invite the child to respond throughout the story.  Repeat phrases so child can “read” along. Most of all enjoy the experience, the book and have fun.

Good choices to start with might include: