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Date of Award


Access Type

Campus Access

Document type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Education; Child and Family Studies

First Advisor

Claire Hamilton

Second Advisor

Cynthia Rosenberger

Third Advisor

Richard Tessler

Subject Categories

Curriculum and Instruction | Reading and Language


The purpose of this intervention study was to investigate whether a dialogic reading model modified and implemented by the teachers would yield higher literacy outcomes among preschoolers in low in-come communities over improvements obtained through exposure to the traditional Whitehurst et al. (1998) model and those made through the typical classroom reading style. Further investigation sought to determine whether teacher involvement in the re-design of the dialogic reading program resulted in high implementation.

Three conditions were used in this study, namely; dialogic reading condition (DR), modified dialogic reading condition (MDR) and the Control condition. The Control group students received normal instruction from the teachers while DR and MDR were the experimental groups. A total of sixty three preschoolers and six teachers participated in the study. The children were assessed on the Preschool Language Assessment Instrument (PLAI-2) and a researcher designed book vocabulary test.

Following an intervention period of eight weeks, a Repeated Measures Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was used to analyze pretest and post test PLAI-2 and book vocabulary scores of the students. A significant difference was found for group and time indicating that over time all the groups made improvements in language but the MDR condition recorded a significant improvement.

Qualitative analysis from teacher interviews, classroom observations and weekly book log entries supplemented the above findings by providing detailed explanations concerning what was happening in the three different conditions. These results suggest that there were changes in the way teachers in DR and MDR carried out book reading conversations. Further findings showed that when teachers are involved in the making of decisions that affect their classroom practices, they were more likely to show high implementation in their classrooms thus resulting in higher child outcomes which was the case for the MDR condition.

Dialogic reading is a valuable model for use in the preschool classrooms and has been proven that it has a great impact on children’s literacy development. Teacher contribution should be acknowledged in professional development. Further implications for dialogic reading and the importance of modification of programs are provided.