The Effects of Parent-Led Read-Alouds of Nonfiction Books on First-Graders' Vocabulary Acquisition and Motivation to Read

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Gibson, Rebecca April
Dreher, Mariam J
ABSTRACT Title of dissertation: THE EFFECTS OF PARENT- LED READ-ALOUDS OF NONFICTION BOOKS ON FIRST-GRADERS' VOCABULARY ACQUISITION AND MOTIVATION TO READ Rebecca April Gibson, Doctor of Philosophy, 2007 Dissertation directed by: Dr. Mariam Jean Dreher Department of Curriculum and Instruction This study investigated the effects of parent-led interactive read-alouds of nonfiction books on first-graders. Evidence suggests that nonfiction read-alouds in the classroom can improve children's vocabulary and motivation to read. This study used a pre/post experimental design to investigate whether parent-led read-alouds can lead to similar gains. Parents of first-grade students were invited to participate in the study. Half of the pool of interested parents was randomly assigned to the intervention group. The intervention group parents attended a training session on how to engage their children in interactive read-alouds. Children of consenting parents then had access to a lending library of 500+ nonfiction books, containing 10 target books with selected target vocabulary (32 words). First-graders whose parents were not randomly assigned to the intervention group, became the control group. Control group parents and children had access to an identical intervention after data were collected. Treatment fidelity measures included Parent and Child Title Recognition Tests. Statistically significant Time X Treatment Interaction effects were found for both the Parent and Child Title Recognition Tests. These findings indicate that intervention group parents and children recognized a greater number of target books than control group parents and children after the intervention occurred. Receptive and expressive measures of the children's knowledge of the target vocabulary, as well as a motivation to read measure, were used to measure effects. Initial analyses showed the control and intervention group were equivalent on pretest measures. The results for the receptive vocabulary showed a main effect for Time, with students in both groups increasing in receptive vocabulary; however the Time X Treatment Interaction was not statistically significant. Nor was the Time X Treatment Interaction for the motivation to read measure statistically significant. However, the analysis revealed a statistically significant Time X Treatment Interaction, with a very large effect size, for expressive vocabulary. This finding indicates that the intervention group was able to produce more accurate verbal definitions of target vocabulary after the intervention than the control group. Thus, children's expressive vocabulary benefited from parent-led nonfiction read-alouds.