The role of question formulation during the shared reading of books in childhood education

Aline E. Pereira, Rosângela Gabriel, Laura M. Justice


The shared reading of books is one of the activities that most contributes to the development of young children's  language  (JUSTICE; SOFKA, 2010; SÉNÉCHAL, 2015; EVANS; SAINT-AUBIN, 2005; SÉNÉCHAL; LEFEVRE, 2002) and has effects in the acquisition of the written language registers (BUS et al., 1995). However, the effects of this contribution depend on how the adult interacts and encourages the child's participation in the discussion and reflection beyond the text. Young children who actively participate in adult-led shared reading of books, which interact with them through questions, word-labeling, and referents, have greater gains in vocabulary than children who passively hear the book reading (SÉNÉCHAL et al., 1995). In addition, the use of questions plays a key role in directing attention and maintaining the child's participation in the activity of shared reading. The purpose of this study is to (1) determine how often preschool teachers ask questions during shared reading of books with their students, and (2) identify the types of questions that teachers asked related to basic vs. complex questions. A total of nine teachers and their students aged 3 to 5 years, from a city in the interior of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, participated in the study. Two shared reading sessions of each teacher (n = 18) were recorded on video, transcribed and coded using an adapted version of the Systematic Assessment of Book Reading-Transcript Coding Version 2.1 (ZUCKER et al., 2017). The results show that during the eighteen shared reading sessions, teachers compiled a total of 329 questions, classified into two categories: basic questions and complex questions. From the total, the basic ones had a higher frequency (n = 285) and complex questions were formulated less frequently (n = 44). The results of this research are in line with other studies (PENTIMONTI et al., 2018; BECK; MCKEOWN, 2001; GIROLAMETTO et al., 2000) that show that teachers usually ask basic questions more frequently when compared to complex questions. Therefore, we emphasize the importance of call  teachers attention to the value of shared reading, mediated by an interaction that favors the formulation of questions, seeking to expand the proportion of complex questions, given the influence that this type of activity has on the cognitive and linguistic development of children.


Shared Reading; Childhood Education; Simples vs. Complex Questions; Systematic Assessment of Book Reading-Transcript Coding Version 2.1


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