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EBP Compendium: Summary of Systematic Review

Effects of Dialogic Reading on the Language Development of 4- and 5- Year-Old Children

Cutspec, P. (2006).
Bridges: Practice-Based Research Synthesis, 4(3), 1-15.

Indicators of Review Quality:

The review addresses a clearly focused question No
Criteria for inclusion of studies are provided Yes
Search strategy is described in sufficient detail for replication No
Included studies are assessed for study quality No
Quality assessments are reproducible No

Description: This is a systematic review of randomized experimental or quasi-experimental studies investigating the effects of an interactive book reading intervention (dialogic reading) on the literacy and language development of children aged 4-5 years.

Question(s) Addressed:

Question not specifically stated.

Population: Preschool children, aged 4 to 5 years old.

Intervention/Assessment: Interactive book reading (e.g. dialogic reading).

Number of Studies Included: 11

Years Included: Not stated



  • Treatment
    • Language
      • Interactive Book Reading (Dialogic Reading)
        • "Based on the findings from this synthesis, dialogic reading does appear to have good potential for helping to increase the language development of very young children and, thus, increase the "readiness" with which they enter school" (p. 4).
        • Across all of the studies, the children demonstrated positive gains in expressive language development after dialogue reading intervention; the majority of whom (81%) were at risk for or identified with language delays prior to intervention.
        • Significant effects were reported in mean length of utterance, writing, linguistic awareness, and print concepts. 
  • Service Delivery
    • Setting
      • "Children in home-plus-daycare conditions demonstrated the greatest gains, followed by children in home conditions, and finally, children in daycare conditions" (p. 4).
    • Format
      • "[T]he findings suggest that one-to-one reading conditions led to more positive outcomes than small-group reading sessions" (p. 4).

Keywords: Literacy, Language Disorders

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Added to Compendium: December 2011

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