A meta-analysis, published in Review of Educational Research, examines how shared book reading affects the English language and literacy skills of young English Language Learners (ELLs).
Shared book reading involves an adult reading with one or more children, and is considered to be an effective practice for language and literacy development. It may also involve interactive practices such as dialogic reading techniques to engage children or reinforce specific ideas or words from the text.
For this meta-analysis, Lisa Fitton and colleagues identified 54 studies of shared reading interventions conducted in the U.S. that met their inclusion criteria. The total number of participants across the studies was 3,989, with an average age of six.
Results revealed that:
- There is an overall positive effect of shared reading on ELL outcomes (effect size = +0.28).
- Children’s developmental status moderated this effect, with larger effect sizes found in studies including only typically developing children (+0.48) than in studies including only participants with developmental disorders (+0.17).
The authors recommended further research with attention to detailed reporting and rigorous research methodology on shared reading to identify other moderators, including intervention characteristics.