In their study of reading styles in the classroom, Brabham and Lynch-Brown broke down reading into three methods: just reading, performance reading, and interactional reading. Just reading is just what it sounds like. Performance reading encompasses the use of interesting voices and dramatic tactics throughout an uninterrupted reading. Interactional reading includes engaging voice work as well as discussion throughout a text investigating narrative, vocabulary, themes, illustrations, and children’s questions.
Performative and interactional styles also bracket the reading of a text with engaging questions. “What do you notice about the characters on the cover of this book? Who is looking at who? Where do you think they might be going? Can you make a sound for the feeling you think they’re having? Tell me about another time you’ve seen a black cat. What are they thinking about? What might happen next? Where would you end up if you crawled through a magic tunnel? Tell me about an adventure you went on a friend with.”
The researchers looked at 246 students in early elementary classrooms who had pre-service teachers read them specific, informational books with one of the three chosen methods. With an eye on children’s understanding and integration of specific vocabulary from the text, researchers discovered that the way a text is shared with children has an impact.
Brabham and Lynch-Brown write that “Just reading produced the smallest vocabulary gains with greater gains for performance reading and the greatest gains for interactional reading” (p. 470). I bet the pre-service teachers reading expressively with pauses for conversation and dissection found themselves the most engaged, too.
If you are also finding yourself wondering about the best ways to set your child up for success, consider interactional reading to be a foundational element. It’s an open invitation for ongoing dialogue with your child before, during, and after reading a book or any piece of text. You will be bolstering their literacy development through vocabulary acquisition and, equally importantly, you will be building connections for dialogue and big questions in your relationship.
Consider finding texts that give you both something to talk about. Start a new shelf in your home with books that have won The New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books Award. From this year’s list, I’ve particularly fallen in love with Just Because written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault. It’s illustrations and text work in tandem with the ways in which children think and dream. While you’re at it, check out Another written and illustrated by Christian Robinson. It’s an open-ended fantastical journey that you and your child can create narration and dialogue for as you turn the pages together. Both of these books create opportunities for you to model curiosity for your child by wondering out loud and asking open-ended questions.
Whether it’s with one of these captivating books or the labels in the grocery store, finding ways to expressively read and ask intriguing questions with your child will set them up to be passionate, articulate learners who are excited to ask and think into fascinating questions.
Check out the full article here
Brabham, E. G., & Lynch-Brown, C. (2002). Effects of teachers reading-aloud styles on vocabulary acquisition and comprehension of students in the early elementary grades. Journal of Educational Psychology, 94(3), 465–473. doi: 10.1037/0022-0622.214.171.1245