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Let’s Hear It from the Tots

It was fascinating reading the article "Start Spreading The News." SLJ’s News and Feature editor Rick Margolis conducted a random phone sampling to see how many librarians were incorporating dialogic reading in their libraries. He writes, "The rest of my calls weren't so encouraging. I talked to librarians in 10 states: one each in Virginia, Montana, Michigan, Massachusetts, Alaska, Tennessee, Colorado, Ohio, California, and Illinois. Eight of the 10 librarians I spoke to had never heard of dialogic reading. Only two, including one at the Parma-Snow Branch Library in Ohio, were actively training volunteers in the technique."

What is dialogic reading? Well, for those of you, like me, who didn’t know until now, "In dialogic reading, the adult helps the child become the teller of the story. The adult becomes the listener, the questioner, the audience for the child."

While this seems like a wonderful strategy to teach to tots, it seems to me like it’s a very natural and necessary parental skill…for some of course. I am sure a parent reading the definition would say, "That’s what parenting is. Why the fancy name?" But the fact that the phone sampling wasn’t productive makes me also wonder why dialogic reading isn’t a household term.

So, if any readers use dialogic reading in their libraries, classrooms or homes, please feel to shed more light for us in the comment section.

-Amy Bowllan

Additional resources:
Dialogic Reading: An Effective Way to Read to Preschoolers by Russ Whitehurst

Background Research: Dialogic Reading for Two- and Three-Year-Olds

Why Dialogic Reading?

Google Search on Dialogic Reading

-Amy Bowllan

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