Dialogic reading: How to Facilitate Extra Conversation With Your Child During Story Time

Dialogic reading is the process of expanding on the words you are reading to your child. It is so easy to do and is also a great way to get a little bit more out of that time you have together.
Dialogic reading is the process of reading to your kids but adding in extra info or asking questions while reading to get their minds to think a little more. It is a great thing to add to your daily story time routine to exercise those little minds. #dialogicreading #readingtogether #readingwithyourkids #readingwithbabies #whyshouldwereadtogether #reading #circletime #storytime

One of my most favorite parts of teaching (besides watching their little brains expand and of course sensory play) was circle time. Circle time requires lots of skills for preschoolers. Following directions, listening, reading comprehension…to name a few 🙂

Reading comprehension is a big part of circle times. They are often centered around a book. Depending on the curriculum, it could be the same book each day for a week or a new book each day. I really enjoyed doing the same book all week. Why? Because kids learn by repetition. By Friday, the kids can recite the entire book. But each day you’re doing something different with the book.

On Monday when I would introduce the book, I read it using dialogic reading. Dialogic reading is a great way to get preschoolers more involved in what you’re reading to them. It’s asking follow up questions or precursor questions about the book. “What does it look like will happen next? Is that dog wearing swim trunks? Do dogs wear swim trunks? Where do you think he’s going in those swim trunks?” You can expand on their answers and ask more questions. You can rephrase their responses to gain more information and insight from them. In a way, you become the listener, and he becomes the reader.

Before I dive into the specifics of dialogic reading, I am going to give you a list of the benefits of reading to your kids. It truly does so much for them (and you) that you may not even know.

Benefits of reading with your children

  • They learn how to sit still! This can be a tough skill to teach and I think parents don’t realize how easy it is. When you give kids something interesting to do, sitting still can be much easier for them to accomplish.
  • Bonding – this is super important. If you get nothing from reading with your kids, get this! It’s one on one time that is easy and beneficial for everyone.
  • Following directions – work on following directions by telling them when to turn the page.
  • Taking turns – take turns with them when you’re turning the page or (if they’re older), reading certain words.
  • Reading – I am convinced my oldest learned how to read so early because we read at least 3 books a night to him.
  • Exploration – Reading teaches your kids about the world around them – a world that they may otherwise never even be aware of.
  • Emotional developments – Children oftentimes learn about emotion through books. They learn that there are emotions out there that they didn’t know about, and how to deal with them. Side note, here is a list of emotional regulation books you can check out

Dialogic reading helps challenge kids to think outside of the book. It assists with verbal fluency, conversational skills and abilities and narrative skills (story telling).

Even now as a parent, when we get a new book from the library, I never just read the words. I ask lots of questions to see what my kids predict from seeing pictures and me reading the text.
It’s also a really cool way to cater to 2 different ages when reading a book. You can take a younger book and make it more exciting for your older child by adding more prompts with dialogic reading. We do this all the time with our books! When my 2 year old has a book she wants to read, I will often call over my older kiddo to help us and expand a little bit on each page. My 2 year old also has a slight speech delay so it’s a great way to get her talking as well.

Dialogic reading is broken down into 5 different types of prompts – CROWD.

Completion Prompts:
You read a sentence to your child and leave out the last word. These are very popular for books that have repetitive lines or rhyming lines. Your child completes the sentence.

Recall Prompts:
These prompts help the child remember what was just read or what was read at a previous time. So you could ask them in the beginning of the book “what does the caterpillar turn into after he eats all the food?” if he has read the book before. If he hasn’t read the book before, you would ask the question at the end of the book.

Open-Ended Prompts:
These are my favorite. We would call these “picture walks” of the book. These prompts focus primarily on the pictures. You could say “what is happening in this picture?” “Where do you think that little boy is going?” “What do you think the next food he eats will be?”

Wh- Prompts:
These are the questions that begin with “what,” “where,” “when,” “why,” and “how.” These are also focusing on the pictures. “What is that toy?” “What color is that?”

Distancing Prompts:
These are prompts that encourage kids to connect the book with their life outside of the book. “Remember when we saw that caterpillar yesterday in the backyard? Do you think he was going to turn into a butterfly? Do you think he ate salami?”

Distancing and recall prompts are for the older kiddos (4 to 5 year olds) and are often the more difficult of the 5, so don’t feel discouraged if your smaller ones don’t really grasp those.

Depending on the vocabulary of your little, you may want to feel them out with questions and see what they can and cannot answer.I challenge you to try it at story time tonight, then come back and let me know how it goes. I never read a book without prompting questions any more! Click here for your printable, or just grab it below! 🙂 Have fun – can’t wait to hear from you!

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