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Dialogic Reading: A Strategy to Help

Mom reading to daughter

Dialogic reading is a way to teach reading to children by having conversations with an adult about the book while they are reading together.

What is involved in dialogic reading?

Dialogic reading is an interactive strategy, meaning that the child and parent read together.  This strategy is helpful because it helps increase the child’s interest in reading, provides lots of positive adult attention for reading, and increases the level of praise and conversation that the child receives for reading.  Dialogic reading often helps holds the child’s attention better than having them read on their own, and can also improve their expressive language and word understanding.

Who does dialogic reading help?

It can be particularly helpful to younger readers, as well as readers with learning concerns.  Often the student feels less alone, less punished, and more supported in their efforts. It can also be a powerful parent-child bonding experience, even for a task that the child finds challenging!  It can be good for the parent-child relationship because both parents and children can enjoy themselves.  It can also help adults know if the child is understanding the reading task and language used.  It can also be used with children with Dyslexia to further the child’s understanding and enjoyment of written text.

What books are best for dialogic reading?

The best books for this strategy often involve pictures, humor, and art.  However, as children get older, parents and kids can also use books without pictures.  Parents could also use graphic novels, “fact books,” or magazines.  It is best if the book holds some interest for the child.

It is important to find books that you both enjoy, even if it is reading the same book over and over. It is never good to push your child too hard, or to frustrate your child in this task.  Is it also good not to “drill” your child on reading.  It is made to be fun.

There are a few steps in dialogic reading.

  1. The adult prompts the child to say something about the book, through comments, questions, and/or reflective comments.
  2. The adult expands the child’s response by rephrasing and adding information to it.
  3. The adult repeats information to make sure the child has learned from the expansion.

Below is a video which may be helpful in learning more about dialogic reading.  Happy Reading!


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