Clusters of parent interaction styles during storybook and expository book sharing with preschoolers
Hammett, Lisa A
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During book sharing, many parents of preschool children mediate their children’s comprehension and verbal participation by discussing the book content and illustrations (Ninio, 1983; Teale & Sulzby, 1987). The extratextual utterances parents provide are important because they are considered by many scholars to be critical to children’s learning from book sharing (e.g., Bus, Leseman, & Keultjes, 2000; Harkins, Koch, Michel, 1994; van Kleeck, Gillam, Hamilton, & McGrath, 1997). The most prevalent finding to date regarding parents’ extratextual talk during book sharing is that there is large variability in the number and types of extratextual utterances parents offer. Some of this variation has been explained by the age and abilities of the child, the sociocultural or socioeconomic status of the family, and text factors such as familiarity or genre. Nonetheless, even studies that have been designed to control for these various factors have revealed substantial variability in the amount of talk parents provide and the types of utterances they use. The purpose of the current study was to replicate a cluster analysis study conducted by Hammett, van Kleeck, and Huberty (2003) which illuminated the systematic ways in which middle-income parents varied in their extratextual talk during storybook reading, and to extend the research to expository book sharing. Fifty seven parents and their typically-developing child between 3 years 4 months and 4 years 2 months participated in the study. Dyads were videotaped on two occasions reading unfamiliar storybooks and expository books. Parents’ extratextual utterances were coded for their content and these data were submitted to cluster analysis. The results indicated that the styles of parent interactions in the current study did indeed replicate the findings of Hammett et al. (2003), indicating that the variability in parent style of interactions was systematic rather than random. Comparisons between the storybook and expository book conditions confirmed that text factors did influence parents’ interactions during book sharing. Specifically, parents provided greater numbers of extratextual utterances and more input at high levels of abstraction during expository book sharing compared to storybook sharing. Thus, sharing different genres of books naturally altered the types of interactions that occurred.