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Investigating parent -child storybook reading and its relationship to early literacy skills: Development and use of a direct observation system

Lydia Stanton Greene, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Building upon previous emergent literacy research, this descriptive and correlational longitudinal study investigated the relationship between parent-child storybook reading and children's early literacy skill development. A new, reliable videotaping system was used as was a measurement tool sensitive to the growth of children's early literacy skills, the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Literacy Skills (DIBELS). Twenty-five parent-child dyads volunteered for phase one; all children were 3 to 5 years old. Eighteen of the original 25 children participated in a follow-up study a year later. Most families were Caucasian, English-speaking, and interested in literacy activities. Dyads were videotaped reading storybooks and their interactions were coded. Six video categories became predictor variables: Parent Q, A, D, L (Parent questions, answers, discusses content of book, or discusses book as it relates to life of parent or child); Child Q, A, D, L; Child reads or is prompted to read, Off-task events, Total events; and Words read per minute. Other predictor variables included Minutes per week of Parent and Parent-child reading (derived from a parent interview) and children's scores from the Early Screening Profiles (ESP) Cognitive/Language Profile subtest of the American Guidance Service (AGS). These variables were correlated with dependent variables obtained by administering three DIBELS tests to the children: Onset Recognition Fluency (ORF) and Letter Naming Fluency (LNF), used in both phases, and Phoneme Segmentation Fluency (PSF), used only in follow-up. Only children 5 and older were administered the age-sensitive PSF probes. From follow-up scores, slope data were generated measuring progress in the three skill areas. A number of the video predictor variables correlated at .32 (a small effect size) or above with the children's concurrent LNF scores. The children's ESP cognitive and language scores also correlated at .32 or above with several of the children's concurrent or subsequent DIBELS scores. Description and discussion of the direct observation system and parent interview are included, with suggestions for refinements. The ESP and DIBELS are discussed, and recommendations are made for future research.

Subject Area

Preschool education|Developmental psychology

Recommended Citation

Greene, Lydia Stanton, "Investigating parent -child storybook reading and its relationship to early literacy skills: Development and use of a direct observation system" (2002). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3056231.