Effectiveness of shared book reading on supporting preschool bilingual children’s second-language learning

Best Evidence in Brief Index

By Jun Wang, Johns Hopkins University

Young dual language learners are considered at higher risk than their monolingual peers in terms of language skills and school readiness. A recent cluster-randomized controlled study published in Child Development  investigated the effectiveness of a book-based language intervention – the Extend program – on bilingual children’s second-language skills in Norway.

The Extend program is a loosely scripted intervention intended to support children’s language skills including vocabulary, grammar, narrative skills, and perspective-taking. 464 children from 60 preschools, who spoke a variety of first languages, participated in the study. Teachers used 15 books in the classroom for this shared-reading intervention, and 4 were sent home so that parents could share them with their children in their preferred language.

The results indicated that the intervention had positive impacts on children’s second-language learning in general. In particular, the intervention had significant effects on second-language vocabulary (four indicators, ES=…

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