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Title page for ETD etd-08302013-091544

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Barnes, Erica Marie
URN etd-08302013-091544
Title Head Start Preschool Teachers' Commenting Practices During Shared Book Reading Sessions: Describing Learning Opportunities for Children with Varying Vocabulary Abilities
Degree PhD
Department Learning, Teaching and Diversity
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
David K. Dickinson Committee Chair
Amanda Goodwin Committee Member
Ann Kaiser Committee Member
Deborah Rowe Committee Member
  • Storybook Reading
  • Head Start
  • Preschool
  • Vocabulary
Date of Defense 2013-07-26
Availability unrestricted
Accumulating evidence from research indicates that input from teachers, measured at the utterance level, may positively impact children’s language and vocabulary growth. To date, few studies have investigated teachers’ commenting practices during shared book reading. The purpose of the present study is to evaluate the effects of the level of instructional strategies and content of teachers’ comments on the vocabulary growth of children with differing funds of knowledge. A sample of 52 Head Start preschool teachers who were randomly assigned to one of three different curriculum conditions was video taped during shared book reading sessions. Videos were transcribed and coded for the instructional level of teachers’ comments, as well as the content. Descriptive analyses reveal the effect of curriculum on teachers’ commenting practices, as those assigned to the experimental condition produced more comments associated with language growth. Multi-level modeling was used to determine the effects of teachers’ commenting practices on children’s end of preschool receptive and expressive vocabularies, and general language ability, in relation to children’s initial levels of vocabulary knowledge. Children with differing levels of vocabulary profited differently from teachers’ instructional comments and content, with typical language children receiving more benefits. Evidence indicates that direct instruction through medium-level strategies linked with content within the child’s zone of proximal development was the most influential for producing receptive vocabulary growth. The differences in learning between the two groups of children indicate a need for differentiation of strategies during shared book reading so that all children may receive appropriate instruction. Implications for the practice and future research, and limitations are also addressed.
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