Dialogic Reading

Small Groups for Language Learning

Research shows that small group caregiver-led activities are more effective in developing cognitive, language and literacy skills than the large group activities that are usually a part of the daily preschool program.

Traditional large group circle times don’t always meet the unique developmental needs of each child. In order to develop high-level language skills, children need more opportunities to be engaged in small reading groups.

Acting out and extending the story into play activities helps children understand the vocabulary in the story and to develop language skills. Children also need ample opportunities for boisterous, physical play to act out and integrate what they learn.

Dialogic Reading

Dialogic Reading is a great way to support language and literacy development in small groups or on a one-to-one basis.

What is Dialogic Reading?

How we read to children is as important as how frequently we read to them. Dialogic reading is essentially an adult and a child having a conversation about a book. Dialogic reading is an approach developed by Dr. Grover Whitehurst. Dialogic reading encourages the adult to engage the child to become the teller of the story. The adult becomes the listener, the questioner, and the audience for the child. Over time, the adult reads less and less of the text and the child takes over as the leader while talking about the story.

Why Dialogic Reading?

Children learn most from books when they are actively involved in the story.

Dr. Whitehurst’s research indicates that children who have been read to dialogically are significantly ahead of children who have been read in the usual way, on language development tests.

Reading to children in small groups and encouraging them to talk about the story results in more:

  • talk and longer sentences than occurs in the typical story time
  • turn taking
  • opportunities to develop higher level language through thinking and imagining.

To find out more about Dialogic Reading go to: