Date of Award

9-2009

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

School Psychology

First Advisor

Gary Stoner

Second Advisor

John M. Hintze

Third Advisor

William J. Matthews

Subject Categories

Developmental Psychology

Abstract

There are certain ways of reading to young children that are more effective than others in increasing language, vocabulary, and building early literacy skills. Dialogic reading is a method to enhance shared book reading by providing a context for dialogue and interaction between the adult and the child. Dialogic reading has been shown to have positive effects on young childrens’ early literacy and language skills. Thus far, parents and teachers have used these techniques in the home and school in one-on-one or small group settings. However, results have been variable due to inconsistent implementation. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of implementing dialogic reading techniques in a preschool setting via cross age tutoring by fifth grade students. Students in preschool and fifth grade were recruited from a school in Eastern Maryland. Fifth graders served as tutors and were trained to use dialogic reading techniques with preschool students in the same school. The tutoring dyads met three times a week for 30 minutes for 8 weeks. Preschoolers’ receptive and expressive language skills as well as their readiness to begin school were assessed before and after the intervention, and fifth grader’s attitudes towards reading prior to and after the intervention were measured. Data on the preschool students were analyzed using an Analysis of Covariance and the results indicated significant changes in receptive, expressive and school readiness in comparison to the control group with medium to large effect sizes (.402 - .640). Furthermore, data on tutor attitudes toward reading were analyzed using two-sample paired t-tests. Results revealed an increase in positive attitudes toward recreational reading, with an effect size of .653, and an increase in general reading attitudes with an effect size of .421. Finally, teachers reported observable differences in their students and expressed interest in continuing this project. Fifth graders maintained adequate treatment integrity and felt positive about their experiences. Preschoolers reported positive experiences in reading with their tutors. Further interpretation of results, implications for practice, and future directions are discussed.

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