Building Early Literacy Skills With Dialogic Reading

Child and adult reading a book togetherThe early literacy method called dialogic reading uses open-ended or “what” questions to expand a child’s expressive vocabulary and story-telling  skills.   


Connecting the book that you are reading to your child with their own experiences helps them to focus.  When children listen to a story and respond to a few questions and interactions, they learn listening skills and better understand the continuing story. All are invaluable in literacy development.  

Ask open-ended questions while reading to children as a way to prompt them to talk about the pictures in the book. Rather than specific “what” questions, also use more general queries that will require the child to answer with more than one word (especially yes and no).

It is also helpful to repeat what the child has said and expand their response. Another way to reinforce your child’s response will be by repeating the ideas that were put forth in a higher level of vocabulary.  This is a great way to encourage and praise a young person, while introducing new vocabulary.

Opening a book to a random page and reading the illustration offers another literacy tool.  Ask what is happening in the illustration.  

Children can build their own stories with an imaginative look at what they think is happening on the page. Enjoy your reading adventure and don’t forget to encourage and praise the young learner!