READ – developing literacy together: A randomized trial study on the effect of shared reading at home on students’ literacy skills

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A study involving almost 3000 9-year-old pupils from public schools in Aarhus Denmark investigates the effect of parent-child reading and text-talk at home on the children’s reading and writing skills. The study was designed as a controlled randomized trial in order to study the effect of an at-home literacy-intervention throughout a school year. The children in the intervention group (1500 children in year 2 and 3) received reading materials and their parents were informed about how to talk about texts, language and knowledge with their children through specially developed tools such as “reading guides” and videos of parent-child reading. The design of the intervention takes inspiration from dialogic reading (Whitehurst & Zevenbergen 2000) and is underpinned theoretically by notions of scaffolding (Wood et al. 1976) and sociocultural views of learning (Vygotsky 1978) highly present in pedagogical linguistics and SFL educational semiotics, and empirically by qualitative studies of language development and parents’ role herein (Painter 1999). Large scale interventions in the field of education’s weak points are often the interventions themselves, when positive effects are detected, the description of “what worked” is often rudimentary and less convincing for pedagogues. On the other hand, even well-documented action research-based interventions lack convincing evidence that positive outcomes are transferable. Other than improving (hopefully, results are due in November…) the students’ reading skills, the READ-project has also shown that the coming together of insights from qualitative research and stringent standards of evidence research can be a fruitful rather than an irreconcilable theoretical and methodological combination. The presentation of the READ-project in Aarhus will explain the theoretical and methodological foundations behind the study and critically review both results and implications.
Publikationsdato25 jul. 2015
StatusUdgivet - 25 jul. 2015