Magazine article USA TODAY

Reading Skills Improve from a Simple Change

Magazine article USA TODAY

Reading Skills Improve from a Simple Change

Article excerpt

A small change in how teachers and parents read aloud to preschoolers may provide a big boost to their reading skills later on, indicates a study published in Child Development. It helps to make specific references to print in books while reading to children--such as pointing out letters and words on the pages, showing capital letters, and demonstrating how you read from left to right and top to bottom.

Preschool children whose teachers use print references during storybook reading show more advanced reading skills one and even two years later when compared to those whose teachers do not use such references. This is the first study to show causal links between referencing print and later literacy achievement. "Using print references during reading was just a slight tweak to what teachers were already doing in the classroom, but it led to a sizable improvement in reading for kids," enthuses study coauthor Shayne Piasta. "This would be a very manageable change for most preschool teachers, who already are doing storybook reading in class."

The study is part of Project STAR (Sit Together and Read), a randomized clinical trial to test the short- and long-term impacts associated with reading regularly to preschool children in the classroom. …

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