Interactive Reading to Improve Language and Emergent Literacy Skills of Preschool Children from Low Socioeconomic and Language-Minority Backgrounds

  • Nathalie ThomasEmail author
  • Cécile Colin
  • Jacqueline Leybaert


Children with low socioeconomic status and language-minority backgrounds generally have weak precursory skills (language and emergent literacy) for learning written language. These skills can be stimulated through interactive reading sessions. Our innovative study for French-speaking Belgium aimed to evaluate the effects of an interactive reading intervention in kindergarten classes, including children with a low socioeconomic status and a language-minority background. The convenience sample consisted of eight schools with differentiated teaching in Brussels city-center. The treatment group, which benefits from interactive reading sessions, include 11 classes (N = 194) and the control group was comprised of eight classes (N = 91). The teachers of the treatment group worked with their class during 30 sessions of interactive reading (3 sessions/week). Pre and post-intervention language and emergent literacy measures were conducted. Children from the treatment group evolved significantly better in postintervention for language (vocabulary, morphosyntax) and emergent literacy skills (print awareness, letter knowledge and phonological awareness), compared to the control group. The implications for kindergarten curricula are discussed.


Interactive reading Kindergarten Intervention Language Emergent literacy 



We thank Philippe Mousty (†), professor, who started this study with us. We also acknowledge the assessment work of the master’s degree students: Louise Daxhelet, Clémence de Jamblinne de Meux, Adeline Massart, Laura Moraldo, Loriana Snel and Nathalie Thibaut. Above all, we are deeply appreciative of the participation of all school personnel who participated in this study, including the directors, teachers, children and their families.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Université Libre de BruxellesBrussellesBelgium

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