Using sophisticated language and literary discussions with preschools predicts later school success

By: ABC Music & Me

New research finds that a preschool teacher’s use of rich language and analytical book discussions combined with reading at home can predict 3- and 4-year-old’s performance later in Kindergarten as well as their 4th grade reading abilities.

The longitudinal research study, co-authored by David Dickinson of Vanderbilt University and Michelle Porche of Wellesley College, sought to identify how the early language and literacy experiences of preschoolers from low-income homes were influenced at the end of Kindergarten and again in fourth grade.

“The classrooms where the teachers were reading interesting books, talking about the meanings of words…were helping children build vocabulary, knowledge, and also helping them acquire habits of engagement when they read,” explained Dickinson. “So rather than them being passive listeners, [children] were being encouraged to be engaged in the conversation, think about the stories, and be intellectually present when books were being read,” Dickinson said.

According to the study, teachers’ classroom behaviors that increased later school success in 3- and 4-year-olds included:

  • High frequency of advanced vocabulary during informal conversations with children
  • Group reading, including a literary analysis the books
  • Parent involvement at home by reading to children

These findings were published in Child Development and included in a review article in the August 19, 2011 edition of Science.


Research in Action: ABC Music & Me

Each unit of ABC Music & Me includes a Student Take-Home kit for every child. Contents of the kit include a CD, instrument (every other month), and a Family Magazine with a story. Parents can actively engage their children in reading and age-appropriate literary and language discussions and activities.

Reading at home with young children

Each ABC Music & Me session includes a story time, where children listen to a story and actively participate through singing and moving. Picture vocabulary cards used prior to story time support unit-by-unit vocabulary, comprehension, and pre-literacy skills.

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