Reading aloud to your kids can have an even bigger impact on their learning with just a minor change, according to a new study.
That change involves making specific references to print in books while reading to children—such as pointing out letters and words on the pages, showing capital letters, and demonstrating how you read from left to right and top to bottom on the page, according to the research by professors at Ohio State University.
Preschool children whose teachers used print references during storybook reading showed more advanced reading skills one and even two years later compared to children whose teachers did not use such references, according to the study. This is the first study to show causal links between referencing print and literacy achievement.
“Using print references during reading was just a slight tweak to what teachers were already doing in the classroom, but it led to a sizeable improvement in reading for kids,” said Shayne Piasta, co-author of the study and assistant professor of teaching and learning at Ohio State University.
“This would be a very manageable change for most preschool teachers, who already are doing storybook reading in class,” she said.
Piasta conducted the study with lead investigator Laura Justice, professor of teaching and learning at Ohio State, as well as co-investigators Anita McGinty of the University of Virginia and Joan Kaderavek of the University of Toledo. Their results appear in the April 2012 issue of the journal Child Development.