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and proficient parent readers improved dramatically in receptive language and concepts of print measures, although factors other than book reading

may have contributed These results raise

to these gains. interesting implications

.

Research by Whitehurst and

his colleagues (Whitehurst et al., 1994), as well as others have suggested that high cognitive demand talk, like asking “what” as opposed to recitation-like

questions, significantly advances a result, numerous interventions

children’s language and early literacy. As have focused on training parents in these

particular

interactional

techniques

(Edwards & Panofsky,

1989; Valdez-

Menchaca & Whitehurst,

1992). Although not discounting the importance

of high cognitive types of talk may

demand talk, results from this study suggest also contribute to children’s literacy learning.

that For

different example,

even though described “Henny Penny, Goosey

as low cognitive demand, responses like chiming Loosey” and repeating alliterative phrases clearly

emphasize

phonemic

awareness

skills

which

are

known

to

play

a

pivotal

role

in early reading

(Adams,

opportunity

to

engage

1990; Stanovich, in conversations

1986). Further, the frequency of appears to influence children’s

language Chandler,

and literacy Goodman,

learning. Snow and her colleagues (Snow, Baines, & Hemphill, 1991), for example, reported that meal-

time conversations,

offering rich opportunities

for parents and children to

talk, eracy

contributed

abilities.

to children’s oral language and ultimately their early lit-

Particularly

for

children

from

non-English-speaking

back-

grounds, Krashen (1989)

comprehensible

input

is

has shown that the frequency of essential in language acquisition

conversations or and vocabulary

growth. These findings, therefore, highlight the importance of oral

opportunities

in storybook

reading and the contributions

that

language different

types

of

interactions

may

make

toward

children’s

early

literacy.

Yet, in children,”

spite of the many calls by educators to “regularly

documentation

of

differences

in

parents’

reading

read stories to ability in this

study may indicate why many do not. Parents low level of literacy initially found themselves not enjoying the experience of reading together

in our clubs who reported a struggling with reading and with their child. However,

access to reading materials that encouraged dictable books with clear illustrations, along

interactivity,

using highly

with

the

social

support

of

pre- their

peers and facilitators,

seemed to enhance parents’

sense of efficacy and

sheer enjoyment rare for parents continued even of Ada (1988),

in fostering their children’s skills as well as their own. It was

not

to

attend

sessions-in

fact,

subsequent

book

clubs

have

after the leaders Delgado-Gaitan

have gone. These results extend (1994), and Neuman, Celano,

the findings and Fischer

(in press), by demonstrating

that a low-cost intervention

involving parents

and children in a socially organized activity can be a highly effective approach

for family literacy programs.

Observations

of

storybook

interactions

between parents and children

during the book clubs raise a final important implication.

Through the pro-

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