, Volume 41, Issue 5, pp 381-389
Date: 14 Feb 2013

Interactive Read-Alouds—An Avenue for Enhancing Children’s Language for Thinking and Understanding: A Review of Recent Research

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Enhancing young children’s early literacy achievement is a top priority in many countries. There is a considerable body of research demonstrating young children’s language development as a critical factor in reading and later academic success. Implementation of high quality literacy instruction has the potential to improve literacy outcomes for all children, especially those “at risk”. However, a significant challenge has been to implement instruction that will support children’s language for thinking and understanding, rather than narrowly focused instruction on easily quantified code-related skills. This article reviews some of the recent research on the value of interactive read-alouds as an avenue for enhancing early literacy learning for preschoolers. Although there is abundant evidence supporting the practice, there are a number of aspects that interact in dynamic ways to affect the efficacy of read-alouds. They include pedagogical knowledge, book selection, the quality of interactions around books, and developing vocabulary and inferential language skills. The way books are shared may open or close learning opportunities and possibilities to use language for an increasingly wider range of purposes. Skillful teachers can play a significant role in building, refining and extending literacy knowledge, skills and dispositions.