45 Intensive Shared Book Reading for Preschoolers

Based on Research by Sharolyn D. Pollard-Durodola, Ph.D. Psychology Science Minute written by Kyle Piecora, M.S.

What is the best way to read to children to enhance their vocabularies, get them involved, and lead to their loving books? Reading achievement is essential for school success. New research shows how one  reads to a child makes a difference.

Using preschool children at risk for vocabulary delays, researchers led by Dr. Sharolyn Pollard-Durodola of Texas A&M University, compared the effects of an Intensive Shared book reading practice with regular book reading.

Teachers were taught to ask open-ended questions, like. “What do you think will happen next?” They also related new vocabulary words to the children’s everyday lives, by asking questions like “Where do you go to buy apples?” These strategies increase future comprehension and expand vocabulary.  Other Intensive Shared Book Reading practices included reading several books on one theme, relating the story to what is learned in science, and using new vocabulary words in other settings.  Children who engaged in this Intensive Shared-reading model demonstrated significantly better vocabulary learning.

You, too, can enhance children’s vocabulary through reading aloud and asking questions. Relate the story to the child’s surroundings.  Read often, varying reading between fiction and non-fiction. Ask connecting questions to stimulate curiosity and understanding of the world.


Pollard-Durodola, S.D., Gonzalez, J.E.; Simmons, D.C.; Kwok, O., Taylor, A.B., Davis, M.J., Kim, M., & Simmons, L. (2011). The effects of an Intensive Shared Book-Reading intervention for preschool children at risk for vocabulary delay. Council for Exceptional Children, 77, 2, 161-183.

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