Prekindergarten Teachers' Verbal References to Print During Classroom-Based, Large-Group Shared Reading

Zucker, Tricia A.; Justice, Laura M.; Piasta, Shayne B.
October 2009
Language, Speech & Hearing Services in Schools;Oct2009, Vol. 40 Issue 4, p376
Academic Journal
Purpose: The frequency with which adults reference print when reading with preschool-age children is associated with growth in children's print knowledge (e.g., L.M. Justice & H.K. Ezell, 2000, 2002). This study examined whether prekindergarten (pre-K) teachers naturally reference print during classroom shared reading and if verbal print references occur at similar rates across different types of books. The relation between frequency of print referencing and quality of teachers' language instruction was also studied. Method: Seventeen pre-K teachers were randomly assigned to a regular reading condition as part of a larger study, and 92 videos of their large-group, shared-reading sessions were analyzed for printreferencing utterances and quality of language instruction. Teachers' verbal print references were compared across texts that were purposefully sampled to include different levels of print salience. Results: Teachers discussed all domains of print studied; however, their rate of print referencing was relatively low. More verbal print references were observed when the teachers read books exhibiting higher amounts of print-salient features. When reading books, there was no apparent relation between teachers' use of print referencing and their quality of language instruction. Conclusion: It is unclear whether this low rate of explicit, verbal print referencing would impact children's print knowledge. Nonetheless, print-salient books appear to offer a natural context for discussions about print. Implications for educational practice are considered.


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